Decision making is a skill we get to practice every day. The surprise is that it’s the key to either accelerate or limit your career. It’s the backbone of judgment. Leaders need the ability to make decisions and take decisive action. Effective decision making is an art and science, and the best thing you can do is get the science on your side, while you practice the art of applying it. And, like I said, you get to practice decision making every day: What to wear? What’s for breakfast? What to listen to? What are the top priorities for the day? Should we go with option A, B, or C? What’s the next best thing to do? Which features do we cut? Which customer segment should we target? Which problem should we solve? … etc.
Here is a good roundup of articles on decision making at Lean Decisions.com:
- 19 Articles to Help You Make Better Decisions, by Trevor Lohrbeer
I’ve learned a lot about decision making over the years. I learned a lot from Peter Drucker, especially when he pointed out the power of judgment as a skill. I’ve learned how to use emotions as input, listen to my gut, do rapid pattern matching, use Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats and PMI techniques, use Michael Michalko’s THINKERTOYS techniques, use criteria and weight for team decision, and how to faciliate decision making more effectively, while driving action.
The power of techniques is that they are like training wheels … eventually you don’t need them. But along the way, they help you eliminate bad habits, and learn more effective ones.
The most surprising insight for me is how intuition is rapid pattern matching + mental simulation, and more importantly, that our intuition is a powerful tool in scenarios … where we have experience. If you’ve wondered why sometimes you intuition serves you while other times it fails you, it’s because it depends on the patterns you’ve filled your head with. What makes a surgeon a great decision makers isn’t the books — it’s their trials-and-tribulations. It’s their daily practice and the experience they draw from under the gun.
So read the articles about decision making. Then “do” effective decision making and practice your art of decisive action.
If you need help with taking action, then read Getting Results the Agile Way. You’ll be glad you did. It’s an industrial-strength system for making things happen, whether that means being a more effective leader, unleashing the “productive artist” in you, or simply flowing more value for yourself and others, while using the world’s best insight and action to think, feel, and be your best in any situation.