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Hundreds of decisions -- and how to make the best choice

Did you ever stop to think about how many decisions you are required to make each and every day?

There are probably hundreds of decisions that need to be made in your business and your personal life every day. And those decisions range from very simple to very complex.

The ability to make sound decisions is critical for each of us. Do you believe that you have the skills to make those decisions most strategically and effectively?

When a crisis occurs or tough choices need to be made, the ability to make accurate judgments is critical. At times the choice is between two defined alternatives; at other times there may be many possibilities.

Making the wrong decision or judgment can have grave consequences. These tips will help you to engage in a strategic thinking approach to help you make the right decision, regardless of the situation.

(1) Develop a clearly focused and defined business vision and personal vision statements and use these as a reference and guide for your decisions.

(2) Develop and define a list of your core values and guiding principles in your business and personal life and use these as a reference and guide.

(3) Develop clearly defined and measurable business and personal goals and use these as a reference and guide for your decisions.

(4) Gather the data and information needed and conduct a thorough analysis before making your decision. Too often, decision makers make decisions based on inconsistent messages or incomplete data.

(5) Identify criteria for a good decision. Ask: What would a successful decision look like? What is required of the solution? When the decision is between a set of alternatives, first identify the criteria required for the ideal solution. Then weigh solution alternatives against the criteria.

(6) Make a list of possible solutions. Be cautious about stopping at and selecting the first solution. Develop a list of all possible solutions – even “off-the-wall” ideas. This exercise will increase the possibility of finding a creative solution.

(7) Eliminate the temptation of making purely emotional decisions. Emotions can override our better judgment and can keep you from making a good decision.

(8) Avoid making time-pressure decisions that put added stress on you and can force you to make a judgment based on incomplete analysis. Quick decisions often can lead to wrong choices.

(9) Be cautious of overconfidence. Although confidence can be a laudable trait in many situations, having too much confidence can work against you when it comes to making good decisions. You need to be aware of alternatives and other points of view and not become blinded to them because of overconfidence bias.

Good decisions are not achieved simply by luck or common sense. An ongoing systematic process of strategic thinking is required so educated, informed and successful decisions can be made.

These tips are intended to provide guidance in that process.

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