Improved Decision Making Skills Means More Efficiency


Tips to improve your decision making

Decision making – the ability to analyse all available data and determine the best course of action is critical to the successful running of any business. While we all make decisions on a daily basis, for some of us, decision making can be quite a difficult process. We can all get better at it with a little practice.

Here are a few tips to assist you in the decision making process.

  • Conduct a cost/benefit analysis. A proper decision making process will entail considering all the possible consequences of the action you take. Will the perceived gains of your proposed action significantly outweigh any negative consequences. There are always pros and cons. Make sure that you consider both sides of the equation. If the net impact will be positive are the gains worth it?
  • How significant is the decision? How much impact will the decision have on your day to day operations and life? This question should determine how much time you allocate to researching, analysing and forming an opinion. You don’t need to over analyse insignificant decisions, you do, however, need to give due consideration.
  • Narrow down your options. In these mass information days, it is easy to become overwhelmed with choices and alternatives. Decide what outcome you want and choose several alternatives to getting there. Discard all other options and focus on those options that are most likely to deliver the best outcomes for you.
  • Research your subject. Arm yourself with meaningful data and put some time into understanding the big picture. This does not have to be hard or time consuming. Seeking out the opinion of an expert in the field can reassure you that you’re on the right track and potentially save you hours of heartache, frustration and anxiety. Expert opinions can be sourced from your network of business acquaintances and friends or in the instance of purchases in particular you can find plenty of consumer reports and reviews online or in trade journals.

These skills can be practiced when making individual decisions and when you are involved in a group decision making process. When it comes to group decision making, there are a few other strategies that you can use to make the decision making process smoother and more enjoyable for everybody.

  • Be prepared to practice conflict management. You want an outcome where everybody wins. A group decision where the outcome is that some parties lose and others win is not helpful in the long term. Identify points of difference and work to reconcile differences while highlighting and emphasising common ground.
  • Anticipating conflict is a good way to prevent it. Spend the time preparing the ground and allowing all parties to communicate openly in a non threatening environment so that people can understand various points of view prior to a scheduled meeting. This can be facilitated in a social setting like a barbecue or a group night out. If you can encourage people to talk openly about a subject in an informal setting, much of the emotion and potential roadblocks can be overcome prior to the meeting itself.
  • Be prepared to take control. Group meetings can drift hopelessly out of control. Keep a close eye on the tone of the meeting and keep it on track. Allow for everyone to be heard, but don’t allow the meeting to run off course. Keep it focussed and committed to coming to a decision.

No matter how carefully and diligently we undertake the decision making process, there will be times when we get it wrong. We’re human. Everyone makes mistakes.. It’s vitally important that you don’t dwell too much on the negatives of a wrong decision. There is nothing that can’t be fixed. Fix it and don’t dwell on it. Beating yourself up over a wrong decision is counter productive and can lead to poorer decision making in the future.

Finally, when it comes to decision making, arming yourself with all the information is a critical step in business. At Acacia Consulting Services we have the software packages and systems that will help you get access to all your vital business data when you need it, backed by skilled staff who want to see your business succeed at its optimum.

Contact Acacia on +61 3 8560 5220 for more information.


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