(By Lea Stankovic)
“Perhaps a harder thing than making a decision is really to evaluate whether it is a good or a bad one. While unfortunately we can’t adjust the decision based on the outcome, we can evaluate the process we used to arrive at it. Your decision is really only as good as your process. What you can do is document you process and resist trying to control the part that is random.“
Are you good at making decisions?
When I say good, I mean – are you able to make them in a timely fashion? And are the outcomes you get what they should be?
What is the process you use to make a decision? Is a decision based on your gut feeling? Or perhaps what your heart tells you? Or in those few rare cases – even what the head tells you?
All this and more is what we talked about in Decision Making, class taught by Dr Philippe Delquié at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. I am finding this a very useful class – it is designed to show you how to improve your decision making process and ensure that your main sources of decision – the head, the heart and the gut – are in harmony with one another. Dr Delquié especially focuses on the different thinking styles we use to make decisions, in particular the difference between how people should make decisions versus how they actually do make decisions.
What we tend to overlook, however, is that not making a decision is a decision in itself. Choosing not to act and acting both have consequences on your life.
Perhaps a harder thing than making a decision is really to evaluate whether it is a good or a bad one. While unfortunately we can’t adjust the decision based on the outcome, we can evaluate the process we used to arrive at it. Your decision is really only as good as your process. What you can do is document you process and resist trying to control the part that is random. As Dr Delquié put it himself:
“Outcomes are always a mix of chance and skill. A decision is as good as the process to arrive at it.”
When making a decision, it is great to frame the problem. As Einstein put it:
“If I had an hour to solve a problem, I would spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes about the
So we have to frame our decision into what is accomplished versus what is sacrificed. Frames, however, can be limiting and based on history and experience but that is why we need to frame broadly, make frames explicit and also look at alternative frames. Frames can simplify a complex world, but beware – they can also cause too much focus and not enough peripheral vision!
Instead of taking problems as a given, let’s see if we are solving the right problem in the first place. Let’s accept that we are sometimes prone to cognitive illusions and try to improve upon our views.
Well, before this I was indecisive… But now, I am not quite sure.