One of the important traits of any leader or business owner is to be good at decision making. Notice I didn’t say, one of the important traits of any leader or business owner is to make good decisions. There is a huge difference.
You will notice and may have even got caught up in moments yourself, when you were so worried about making the right decision, that you in fact made no decision. In some cases, the result of making no decision may have worked out well, although the time and energy put into making no decision can never be recaptured.
People who achieve results are willing to make decisions quickly and to channel their energy in taking action, rather than over contemplating or over-analysing a decision.
Action creates results. Thinking creates just more thinking. If you want results you have to push past the thinking.
Here are three reasons people don’t make decisions:
1. They don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings.
2. They are afraid of making a mistake.
3. They are afraid of what other people will think about them in making a decision.
There is paradox in these. Most people don’t recognize that the same concerns they have in making decision could also apply in not making decision. Each of us have had times when we haven’t made a decision and in not doing so, hurt someone, missed out on an opportunity or where people thought we were crazy for not having made a decision. Recognize that a non-decision still results in a decision and as a result, will still impact your success.
Leaders and business owners are exactly that, because they are willing to continually move things forward by making quick decisions. They know that every decision they make, may not prove to be the best, however they improve the odds by making lots of them.
Here are a couple of techniques that will help you improve your decision making skills.
- Take control of making common decisions. One of the tasks, we often give our clients is to have them practice consciously making the common decisions that no one likes to make. For example, deciding what restaurant to have dinner at or what activity the group should do on a Friday night. These are certainly not ground shaking decisions, however in doing this you train yourself for the bigger ones.
- Put in place a time constraint. We encourage you to adopt putting a time limit on making decisions. If one of your staff comes to ask you about something, force yourself to tell them that you will look it over and that you will get back to them with a decision by no later than (pick a time or date). Do the same in your personal life. If you are going to buy something, give yourself a time constraint and if you find that you haven’t found what you want within that time, promise yourself to make the decision to not buy anything, but do it consciously.
Decision making or not making a decision is a skill that is developed over the time. Remember, the more we do something the better we get at it.