How To Become A Better Decision Maker

Decisions are a part of all of our lives. Even our furry companions make decisions. I know Lok, my Vizsla, does.

He can choose to listen to my commands. He can choose to obey and be rewarded. He can also choose whether to play, eat, sleep, etc…

Yet, while my dog can make a decision, I wouldn’t want him to lead me. I know you feel the same. You love your pet but you wouldn’t trust his decision making compacity to lead you, your family, or your organization.

Man standing at a path split by a giant tree

Photo by Caleb Jones

If we don’t want to be led by poor decision makers, it would serve to reason we don’t want to make bad decisions either. So, what can you do to become a better decision maker?

How To Become A Better Decision Maker

Becoming a better decision maker isn’t a one-time deal. To make better decisions, you have to continually work at the way you see things and how you make decisions. The good news is you can do this by working on your decision-making process.

To improve your decision making, you can do the following:

Study great decision makers:

The world is filled with examples of great decision makers. These are leaders who have revived failing companies, restored broken marriages, and chose to do the things that truly mattered.

Look for leaders you admire. Find leaders who have done what you desire to do. Study them and learn.

A few examples of leaders who have been great decision makers are –

  • Steve Jobs
  • Teddy Roosevelt
  • Neil Armstrong
  • Henry Ford
  • Jeff Bezos

Look at these leaders. Study how they made decisions. Follow their example.

Make decisions in a safe environment:

The workplace may not be the best place to test out your decision making prowess if you haven’t made good decisions in the past. Instead, find a safe place to test your ability to make good decisions.

Here’s something you might to do work on your decision-making skills. Create a test environment (this could be a stock market simulation software, a sheet where you write down a choice and see how it plays out, or any number of other ways to see the results of a decision). Then, make your choice. Watch for the results.

If you were able to successfully see the right outcome, your decision-making process works. If you failed to successfully see the outcome, your decision-making process needs work.

The awesome thing about this is that you can go back and study why or why not your decision worked. Go and dissect your decision and get to the root of it. You can then use what you learned to make better decisions in the future.

Decide on a course of action:

Great decisions makers aren’t squirrel chasers. That is to say, they make a decision and stick with their choice until they see their decision isn’t going to work. They’re not going to make a decision and then constantly change their course of action.

To improve your decision-making skills, be willing to stick with your decisions long-term. Knowing you are not going to change course on a regular basis will help you to choose more wisely and keep you more focused.

Hang out with a variety of people:

They say you’re the sum of the 5 people you spend the most time with. The sum of your decision making is also based on the people you hang out with.

However, I believe you become a better decision maker by hanging out with a wide variety of people. Each person you hang out with makes their decisions in a unique way. Their decision making can be adapted to your way of making a choice.

Look for people who are making wise choices. Look for people who are making poor choices. Use what you observe to improve your decision making.

Stop over-thinking your decisions:

Analysis paralysis is real. We get overloaded by the number of decisions we have to make. Not only do the number of decisions we have to make overwhelm us, but the number of options we have in making a decision is also overwhelming.

There’s always another course of action that could be taken. We can look at our decisions until we’re blue in the face. Yet, if we don’t stop thinking and make a decision at some point, we will never make a decision at all.

Stop over-thinking your options. Figure out the best 2 or 3 decisions you can make. Choose from those decisions and act.

Question: How are you making better decisions? Share your strategy in the comment section below.

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