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Five steps for effective decision making

One of my clients had to make an important decision this week.

Her boss offered her a promotion, and she was flattered. 

This new role would give her more exposure across the organization. 

It would allow her to learn a different side of the business. 

However, my client knew this new role would mean more work, a steep learning curve, and longer hours.

So, she had to make a decision. 

Should she keep the job she loves, which gives her balance, or take on the new challenge and the pressures that come with it?

Decision-making is a leadership skill that people rarely talk about.

I want to put this story on your radar by sharing it.

The leaders I work with who have honed their ability to make timely and effective decisions are definitely more successful in their roles. 

Now, how we decide will vary from person to person. 

This depends on your work style and wiring.

What’s your decision-making style?

Are you a leader who:

  • Makes decisions quickly
  • Needs time to process information before you make decisions
  • Seeks input from others before making a decision
  • Makes decisions on your own

There is no right or wrong way to make a decision, but I do have an effective process for making a difficult decision.

Here are five steps for effective decision-making:

  1. Define your objective: Take a minute to outline what you aim to achieve with your decision. Ensure that your objectives are specific and measurable if possible.
  2. Gather relevant information: Your next step is to write down all the information you know about your decision. Then, write a list of all the questions you still have or information that you need to know. Data always helps with the logical side of decision-making. 
  3. Seek stakeholder input: It is important to speak to your key stakeholders to assess their perspective on the decision and get their input. If your team provides input, they will be more likely to buy in when your decision is implemented.
  4. Assess the benefits and risks: A well-thought-out decision requires assessing the situation’s potential benefits and risks. Start with the benefits. We tend to focus only on risks, so starting with the benefits will balance your analysis.
  5. Make the decision: Make your decision based on your data, analysis, and intuition. Sometimes, the right answer on paper is not what your gut is telling you is the correct decision. If you struggle to make decisions in a timely manner, give yourself a deadline to make the decision.

After going through these steps with my client, in just 30 minutes she had clarity on her decision.

What do you think she decided to do?

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World. Order your copy here.

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