how to make good decisions

Last month, President Trump announced that his administration is going to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement. It was certainly a bold decision, for while many in the United States applauded it, many other Americans and governments throughout the international community objected. As is often the case with decisions of this magnitude, the efficacy of this decision may not be known or understood for a number of years.

However, as an important person who represents millions of diverse people in a position of supreme leadership, President Trump understood that the responsibility for making the decision ultimately rested on him, and he took the steps he deemed necessary to come to this significant conclusion.

While the vast majority of people will never have to make a decision that will affect entire nations, it is not uncommon for us to find ourselves in positions where our decisions will alter the trajectory of our success or failure and affect those around us. Therefore, it is beneficial to develop strategies, techniques, and processes to help us arrive at decisions that give us the greatest chance of achieving a positive outcome. The following tips are designed to help you more skillfully make decisions:

Begin with a goal in mind.

Understand ahead of time what you want to accomplish and how to best get there. Develop a time frame for trying to achieve your goal. But perhaps most importantly, consider if the goal you have in mind is in fact the most beneficial for you and other stakeholders, and don’t be afraid to explore other options before commencing. We often trap ourselves into thinking that our choices are binary in nature when there may be many viable solutions that may even be preferable to the outcomes we envision. Taking the time to explore options beforehand can sometimes save time, money, and headaches down the road.

Surround yourself with trustworthy advisers.

Seek legitimate and honest feedback from those around you, especially if they also have a stake in the outcome of a decision. Good leaders seek opinions and information that will help guide them through the decision-making process. They know how to listen and keep others involved. To be even more effective in this regard, it is helpful to plan for how to receive feedback from others in a manner that will provide the most truthful and accurate responses, and it may be wise to establish roles within the team of advisers to facilitate effective communication between and among all parties.

Be disciplined.

Take the time and effort needed to do the things that will most likely lead to a desirable result. Do the research. Think things through; don’t act capriciously or on emotion. Test your ideas and adjust accordingly. Make sure the fundamentals of the situation are understood by those who need to understand them, and be sure that your thoughts and vision are being clearly communicated to and comprehended by these same people. Endeavor to make the necessary decisions even when you would rather put them off because they are stressful or mundane. Maintaining your discipline throughout the process will greatly increase the odds of a successful venture.

Incorporating these suggestions in your decision-making processes will increase the likelihood of achieving favorable outcomes for all involved. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they will work every single time. Sometimes things go awry for reasons beyond our control; conversely, people sometimes find good fortune or success with little more than luck. That is simply the nature of life and of speculating about the future. However, developing strategies for making effective decisions will pay off more often than not and will allow you to be become a more artful, effective leader.

Leadership Excellence provides leadership training and development for individuals and organizations in the Cleveland, Medina, and surrounding areas in Ohio. Please contact us to learn more about our how our customized programs can help you to be a better decision maker and a better leader.

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