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Make Better Decisions in 2018

It’s March, and by now you’re either well on the way to acting on your New Year’s resolutions or have completely forgotten about them. This makes March a good time to reset those resolutions. It is not an exaggeration to say everything you do in 2018, from the resolutions you put on your New Year's list to the end of the year party you plan, depends on the quality of your decisions.  You can have a much better 2018 by simply making better decisions.  Sounds easy, but unfortunately there are endless ways to make bad decisions. Improving decision making can become an overwhelmingly difficult task which makes it easier just to forget the whole idea and live with the decisions you make.

Don't give up yet.  Instead of trying to eliminate every likely decision flaw, you can make better decisions by doing just ONE THING. The one thing is to always consider more options. Considering more options helps improve the quality of your decisions because a major source of decision error is making decisions that are comfortable and take as little mental energy as possible. Spending more mental energy up-front can save you energy, time, and money on the execution side of the decision.  Here are some of the ways you can add to your decision processes that will generate more decision options.

More Options

Develop at least 3 sound options for any decision and spend time seriously evaluating the pros and cons of each one. Write out the decision and the expected outcome so you see this in writing. Putting your decision options in writing will help you see your assumptions and expected outcomes, which might be overly optimistic. This is a good method for those who like data and analysis.

Post-Mortem

Post-mortem your favorite. Whatever your first choice is, imagine that it fails and discuss why that would be. What would have been another option that would not have been subject to the same failure? Does the failure lead to a better decision? This is a good method for strategists who revel in “what if” scenarios.

Start Over

Throw your first-choice decision out the window. Now what can you do? You may still decide your first choice is best, but you will have taken time to develop another option. This might be the fastest way to develop alternatives but only works if you have the mental discipline to honestly toss that favored decision and develop another option.

Ask Someone Else

Find someone you trust and who thinks completely differently than you. They must appreciate your business environment but either be immune to the “standard way of doing things”, or perhaps in a different company or field. Explain the situation and ask them what they would do. Even if you think their idea is crazy, ask questions and explore why you think it is crazy. Compare it to your decision. What insight does this give you about your thinking? This is an excellent choice for those who like to process verbally and are people-oriented.

Pick one strategy that you would enjoy using, write it on a sticky note to remind you, and faithfully use it when you make any significant decision.

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