To succeed today, you have to set priorities, decide what you stand for. Lee Iacocca
We make decisions over and over again…What am I going to wear today? When am I going to take a break at work? Or how about, What’s for dinner? While raising a family, that question became boring and irritating. So was the routine decision. Now, my hubby and I share the decision; sometimes when one of us just bites the bullet to leap into slicing and dicing, or sometimes after we’ve had a significant discussion ahead of time. Yay! I like it when we make a decision together.
Choices can be made quickly, spontaneously, under duress, or with great care and considerable planning. Many decisions may seem inconsequential such as deciding what to eat for breakfast. However, if each morning we ingest fatty foods we could create obesity, diabetes or a heart attack. Decisions repeatedly acted upon become habits. Habits form our life structure. Changing habits require firm resolutions.
Whether you’re making a significant life decision, are up against a deadline, or needing to decide how to delegate a decision, there are things we can do to help our cause.
1. Decide: Significant Decisions
Marrying, purchasing a house, leaving a career, starting a business, retiring or traveling the world are significant life decisions! To help you make a solid and thoughtful decision, here are some thoughts on how to decide what to do.
Three Tips for Significant Decisions
1. Do Your Research / Get the Facts
When searching online, pay attention to the source. For example, mental health information on the Canadian Mental Health Association website is more likely to have accurate data than an individual who has opened an independent website to rant about those with mental illness. Yes, there are websites on almost every topic from almost every perspective; the onus is on us to discern which ones are most relevant and beneficial.
2. Enlist Your Connections
Trusted friends, family and co-workers can often view your situation from a far more objective perspective than you can. You may have a particular person who has excellent listening and probing skills. Invite them to ask you clarifying questions and brainstorm ideas with you. It will help identify the advantages and disadvantages of each of your alternatives and keep you accountable to take action.
However, please avoid leaning on others to make your decisions. If you ask the common, “What would you do if you were me?” question, ask at least three wise people.
If the direction your support system steered you into did not work, avoid blaming them. They gave you their best. Always take responsibility for your decisions, choices, and behavior.
3. Hire a Professional
You may decide to hire a professional to help make decisions about your health, fitness, home purchase, landscaping and furnishings, wealth, travel, business start-up and growth, professional development, retirement, personal development, parenting. relationships, and more. Depending on the financial investment and time commitment involved, thoroughly research so you make the best decision for you and perhaps, your business or family. Ask for references.
2. Decide: Up- Against-a-Deadline Decisions
When under pressure we are more apt to make decisions resulting in unnecessary pain, time and money. Here are some tips to help when you need to quickly decide.
Ten Tips for Quick Decisions
- If you foresee a potentially damaging situation, create a backup plan.
- Have a clear job description and know your organization’s policies and guidelines.
- Breathe. Feel your feet. Calm yourself. Go with your gut. Typically, your head will argue and your heart will want to please.
- Imagine a very wise person. Ask yourself, “What would ‘Lois’ do in this situation?”
- Believe, “It’s OK to make the best choice possible with the available information.”
- Take action.
- Accept that sometimes mistakes happen.
- Use mistakes to learn how to make a better decision next time.
- Take responsibility for your part.
- Celebrate and acknowledge yourself when your decision has a successful impact.
3. Decide: Delegate Decisions
There are times we do not have the time, expertise nor experience to make a specific and important decision. Susan Scott, author of Fierce Conversations, offers a task delegation guideline. Ideally, using the Decision Tree, employees move up from root to the leaf as their competence is demonstrated. Here is a summary to help you decide who makes what decisions.
- Leaf decisions are acted upon by the employee responsible for the task. No reporting is necessary.
- Branch decisions are made by the employee but require reporting to management daily, weekly or monthly.
- Trunk decisions are acted upon after the employee checks with management.
- Root decisions are made jointly with management and/or team. They are crucial and have a potentially high impact on the organization.
At home, do not minimize the competency of children. Last night at dinner with friends, seven-year-old Sarei greeted guests at the door, helped clear the table, and provided after dinner entertainment.
What have been your most challenging decisions? How did you make them? What worked best? Let me know how you make a decision. I will be sure to respond.