5 Steps to Follow to Make Great Decisions

To reach our goal, we often must make a decision at a fork in the road

To reach our goal, we often must make a decision at a fork in the road

Decision making is something we all have to do, but few of us enjoy. Many people often make bad decisions for many reasons, but one reason is because they simply did not know how to make a decision. So if you would like to know how, or if you just want to make sure you make good decisions, check out these five steps to making a good decision.

5 steps to making a decision:

1. State the problem – begin by defining what the decision you need to make is. Try to put the problem into one sentence and make it as clear as possible. This is both for your benefit and others in case you are not the only one involved in this decision.

2. Identify alternatives – what are the options? Take time and carefully look at the deferent solutions to your stated problem. This is like a brainstorm session, so do not get rid of any solutions no matter how outlandish they might seem. Look for every possible alternative or solution.

3. Evaluate alternatives – which option is best? Look at all the factors involved, you might even need to put some criteria together to help whittle down your options. This is probably the longest step of the process and it requires some careful analysis of each alternative. Here is where you throw out the alternatives that do not solve your problem or are just impractical.

4. Make a decision – choose the best option. You have analyzed and found the best option to fix your problem, so go with it and do not second guess yourself.

5. Implement your decision – follow your decision and do whichever option you chose. This is the most important step. You must implement or your problem will remain unsolved.

Let’s look at an example to help put all these steps together.

Let’s say that you are in charge of an organization and you want to do some sort of stress relief activity for your workers. The first option you have is to do a stress relief party. This would cost $100. The second option is to get stress relief balls for everyone. This would only cost $50. Which option should you take? Well follow the steps. Define your problem, which is that you need a stress relief activity. Then look for your alternatives, the two options. Now, evaluate each option. Which one would be a more effective stress reliever? Which one is more cost effective? Which one has a combined better value? After figuring out the answer to these questions, make a decision on one of the options. Now, the last and most important step of all, implement your decision. You will never know if you made a good decision if you do not implement it, and you will never solve the problem if you do not act on your decision.

Follow the five steps and the example and you should be able to start making better decisions today. Remember, it takes practice to make good decisions, so do not get distressed if your first few attempts end badly. Just keep trying and keep learning and very soon you will be a better leader.

Photo by pfly

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Insert Reading Here

I would guess that at least 1/4 of my reading is inserted into other areas of my life. This morning I went to walkmart and the book I am currently reading (The Speed of Trust) was a little too big so I grabbed a pocket New Testament and read from the car to the door. The door was locked so as I walked to the other entrance and started shopping I read. In line is another great place to read.

When you take a little time to think about it you can insert reading into so many other areas of life.

1. Driving. I only recommend this one if you live in northern Montana or drive in stop and go traffic. On our VW Bus trip accross the country I read the better part of a novel on the barren route 2. When you are “stop” that is a great time to read. When you are “go” not so much. When I lived in Japan I would often read while driving in the 5 kmh traffic on my way home.

2. The bathroom. You might already be squeezing this one in.

3. Always carry a book with you. You will be amazed at how long you wait in lines, at red lights, in doctors offices, and for other people.

4. While excercising. Either listening to an audio book or while riding a stationary bike.

5. During Meetings. If you can do it without appearing rude meetings are a great place to read. In many meetings much of what is going on in will not pertain to you at all. Be careful with this one that you don’t frustrate others.

6. Lunch Breaks, Work Breaks and other Breaks. If you eat lunch with others everyday taking one day a week to read might not be a bad idea.

7. Before the kids wake up or after they go to bed. Read a novel or biography before going to bed is a great way to unwind and sets you up for a great nights sleep much better than spending time in front of the TV.

Look for areas that you are already doing or required to do and see if you can read there.