When it comes to decision making the most important thing we need to learn is the simplest; no matter who we are or what we do, we’re all going to make a bad decision.
And the first thing we need to do to make better decisions is accept the fact we’re going to make bad ones. Don’t be stifled by the fear of making a bad decision, as Theodore Roosevelt said making the wrong decision is better than making no decision at all. Accept it happens, learn from it, then move on because if life can guarantee anything it’s that there’ll soon be another choice to make.
Decision making defines leadership and the great leaders are, in turn, the great decision makers. They know when to stick and they know when to twist. They can process, analyse and make informed decisions coherently and effectively.
However, it’s not just leaders who make decisions. True, their decisions will create the biggest consequences and come under the most scrutiny, but every employee, every day is faced with a series of decisions to make. Effective decision making is a skill and as such needs to be honed and developed.
Trust your gut…
Gut-instinct is the first thing we turn to when we it comes to decision making. It’s our first tool for processing the information in front of us and then acting upon that information. The best decision making process will involve informational analysis but this takes time. When we don’t have the luxury of time, that’s when we have to trust ourselves and our own knowledge to make the right decision.
…but back it up with knowledge
And this is why we have to become experts in what we do. The more we know about a subject or a situation, the greater informed we are. When this knowledge becomes ingrained in us we can draw on it to make the strongest decisions. From an employer’s perspective, this is why continued employee education and development are vital. Arm your employees with the knowledge they need to make the best decisions.
It’s now increasingly easy to use data to make decisions. Tools like workforce management software provide business intelligence and accurate forecasting so all the facts are on the table before decisions are taken. This reduces risk and takes out the guesswork meaning more accurate decisions can be made.
The same tools also empower employees to make their own decisions especially when it comes to scheduling and swapping shifts without having to go through a manager to do it.
Consistent decision making, particularly in leadership, helps build confidence and trust. These conditions allow for optimum performance because there’s a strong element of certainty. Employees thrive off certainty so the more consistent we can be in our decision making, the better our employees will perform. As well as being consistent, transparency in the decision making process is paramount. Be open and honest with staff and they’ll reward you for it.
Use technology to make better decisions
At the crux of it, good decision making comes down the most effective analysis of information presented to us and then choosing how we act on that information. We can use data to be more informed, we can then analyse that data to make the decisions we know are going to deliver the maximum benefits to our business.
This is what systems like workforce management software do. They process large amounts of data to enable business leaders and managers to make better decisions – whether that’s in terms of scheduling, budgeting or forecasting. It helps significantly reduce the margin for error meaning informed decisions can be made quickly, effectively and efficiently.