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How to make better decisions?

Having good judgement is by far the most important skill that leaders need.

The higher the leader grows in the hierarchy, the greater number of decisions that they have to take on a day-to-day basis.

How does one get better in decision making?

There are several factors that contribute to a good judgement call:

  • Knowledge/Memory

  • Senses/ Data

  • Intuition/ Creativity

  • Processing/Thinking

  • Collaboration/team-work

While we make decisions run-time, we can set ourselves for success by consistent simple practices that make all this work together to make effective decisions.

1. Learning-->Knowledge:

With high responsibilities to shoulder as a leader, one cannot start reading when one encounters a decision to be made.

Consistent knowledge building matching your learning style - books, videos, conferences, podcasts, networking, listening etc. will help you be confident on what you know to be an effective decision maker.

The accumulated knowledge needs to take care of present needs and also future bets.

2. Clearing --> Senses:

When our senses are clear, they help us in capturing run-time information discounting the noise. This reduces the load on the processor/ brain as the input on context is clean.

Most often, not noticing an input that was always there or noticing an input that was assumed to be there are decision de-railers. 

Two simple activities that Shirzad Chamine can help in clearing 2 of the dominant senses we use - eyes & ears.

a. Pick a random object - describe the shape, size, colour, texture, words on it (with no processing - eg - The water bottle is red, shiny, cylindrical, smooth. Discount: I like this because....)

b. Find the nearest sound you can hear. Find the farthest sound you can hear. Describe.

3. Refining--> Intuition:

Instinct refers to an innate tendency to know/respond a certain way. This is natural & impulsive. The purpose of an instinct is to be protective.

Intuition refers to knowing something without conscious reasoning. This can be learnt, accumulated and refined. The purpose of this is to be much more generative.

Refining intuition implies refining observation skills & reflection skills. Any activity mindful walk in the grass helps you refine your observation skills in-terms of mindfulness (awareness through senses) and mindlessness (stillness of the mind).

4. Diversify-->Thinking:

We use linear thinking a lot more as it appears logical with its cause & effect relationships.

Lateral thinking involves viewing the problem in different light and generating creative solutions.

 It involves suspension of linear thinking and using disruptive problem solving. It also involves connecting the dots.

This increases the diversity in our thinking and helps us build unconventional, disruptive solutions to problems.

5. Non-judgmental -->Collaboration:

Sometimes all we need is a sounding board. Making a decision collaboratively increases our chances of coming out with decisions with less blind spots.

The most important to skill here is to hold multiple opposite viewpoints at the same time without shooting one down. 

This requires a certain detachment to the PoV that we create and wait for a better decision to emerge.

What helps you make better decisions?

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