Preventing Simple Decision-Making Errors
Posted by Anni M.
Human beings have evolved to see patterns. We see Jesus in a piece of toast or the end of the world in the patterns of the stars. In the wild, noticing a lion’s face in a clump of grass meant the difference between life and death. Of course, sometimes our eyes play tricks and a clump of grass is just a clump of grass. In the wild, making a mistake like that is no big deal. You have a moment of panic and then go about your day. But in today’s world, seeing patterns isn’t always helpful. In fact, sometimes it can result in major errors in judgment. For example, we see patterns in the randomness of the stock market and spend money on a hunch that never pans out. This is a predictable error, one that we can avoid entirely by knowing our predilections and second-guessing our instincts. Once you recognize a problematic behavior you can prevent it from affecting your future decision-making. Here are some tips for stopping problems before they start.
Take Your Time
Time is a great tool for decision-making. Often in business we are pressured to make decisions quickly. This is not conducive to thoughtful, measured decision-making. Instead, give yourself some quiet moments to weigh your options. Consult with coworkers, write down pros and cons, and give yourself the space you need to be as logical as possible.
Build in Some Fail-Safes
You don’t have to be an island unto yourself. Use coworkers to create a helpful focus group for important decisions. Ask the group a series of questions that get at both sides of your decision. They don’t have to be privy to the details to be helpful in the process. Sometimes it’s difficult to get an objective perspective, especially if the decision directly affects you. Just watch out for these common group-think pitfalls.
Embrace New Responsibilities Carefully
Decision making errors happen most frequently when we are tackling new, unfamiliar tasks. When you lack experience, it’s easy to overlook details or to jump to decisions without doing enough research. Remember: there is nothing wrong with asking questions. Use the resources at your disposal. Read everything you can about your new responsibility. Are there already guidelines in place? Review the work of the person who had that responsibility before you took it on. Often, a predecessor’s mistakes can serve as lesson enough—you won’t have to make those same mistakes all over again. Sometimes predecessors will be kind enough to leave a list of instructions. These are gold! Also, remember to look to your own experience for guidance. If you’ve done a good job handling responsibility in the past, evaluate how you did it. Did you have a system for keeping track of details? Keep using the techniques that have worked for you in the past.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..