How to Make Better Decisions: Part 3

This is Part 3 of a Multi-Part Series on Decision Making.

Want to become better at Decision Making? 

Here’s an Intro into How to Make Decisions


Practical Tips

Warning: All of these Practical Tips relate to actually MAKING a Decision. As mentioned before, all the steps or information or research are all factors “Leading” to a Decision. Decision making is having all of the available options ready to choose from. Those options may take 2 years to determine or 2 seconds or you might only have 1 option, but you MUST be at the point where you can make a decision to utilize the Practical Tips we’re about to cover.

  • Always Make the Decision in the Moment
    • The first time you read the email, respond. Read the email and then immediately write your response. Then, re-read once and send. Don’t sit on the email or wait to answer it in hours or days. Do it in the moment.
      • If SUPER important, immediately write a DRAFT and re-read no sooner than 1 hour LATER. Make sure you have changed your state. The next day is even better.
  • Time Yourself. Literally put yourself “on the clock.”  Use a Timer on your smartphone or you can even purchase a chess timer.  Regardless, when you have a Decision to make, set the timer for 60 seconds. By the time the buzzer sounds, make a decision. Like the General’s story, learn to simply make a decision and see how it turns out. You can always adjust based on the Feedback.
  • NEVER Monday Morning Quarterback Yourself. Trust your Decision and WAIT for FEEDBACK.
    • Feedback is the Ultimate Scoreboard. You’ll always discover the effectiveness of your decision. That’s a guarantee. Embrace Feedback. This is the new mindset you must adopt.
      • Here’s a favorite quote of mine: “There are no Failures in Life, only Feedback.”- Robert  G. Allen
      • Here’s my expansion of that principle: The only Failure in life is NOT making a decision. Yes or No is Action. Then, await Feedback.
  • Own Your Decision.
    • To be a Top Manager and Leader, you must OWN your Decision. Take responsibility for them. If you want the ability to make decisions, then you must want to own them as well. If you make a decision, stand behind it. Feedback will prove your decision correct or incorrect. But do NOT deflect or pass off a decision that resulted in negative or non-ideal feedback. Own it.
  • Hire Slowly, Fire Quickly
    • This is an old quote about hiring and firing decisions. But I believe it captures the essence of proper decision making. I alter it to say: “Research slowly, Make Decision quickly.”
      • Take the proper time, when available and applicable, to have all the facts. But once there, make the decision quickly. Don’t procrastinate or delay.
  • Procrastination and “In-Action” are your only enemies.
    • When you are at the point of a decision, make it. Don’t delay, don’t put it off, don’t procrastinate.
    • Only inaction is your enemy. Embrace the moment and make the decision.
  • Fear is your Friend
    • We all have Fear. Fear is the root of procrastination and inaction. You must kill your fear by making it your friend.
    • If you feel fearful on a decision, that is your sign to make the decision. Unless you truly believe, know in your gut, that you need more information, any second past that point is procrastination. That is all fear based.
    • Make fear your friend through practice. Make decisions even when fearful.
    • Try this: Ask yourself “what is the worst thing that could happen?”
      • This is what you’re really fearful of, the true consequence. When you bring that fear to light, bring it to your conscious thought, so to speak, it can’t hide any longer. It’s out in the open. You’ve named it.
      • The fear will dissipate. It has to.
      • Asking yourself the above question allows you to consider the worst case scenario. And, more than likely, it’s not as bad as you’ve made it up to be.
    • Fear is only a Fog
      • Fear is like a Fog. I remember taking off in airplanes in the summer in Southern California. Most mornings in June, there is a fog layer, what is called a marine layer, that comes in over night and doesn’t burn off to sunny skies until noon. Each morning, you wake to wet and fog. We have a name for it: June Gloom.
      • When you take off in an airplane in the fog, you can’t see anything. You’re surrounded by wet darkness and can’t see 10 feet in any direction.
      • But around 10,000 feet, the plane breaks through the fog, rises above the marine layer and all around are blue, crystal clear skies. You can see for what seems forever.
      • Fear is that fog. There are blue skies above. Fog is only an illusion of darkness. Just like fear.


We’ll go into More Decision Making Techniques and Action Steps in the next of this Series.


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