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The Power of Effective Decision Making

Updated: Sep 6, 2023

Individuals who are able to make effective decisions quickly and with conviction prove to be invaluable employees. These individuals can be relied upon by their managers to work and make decisions autonomously, leading to greater productivity.

Decision Making Strategies

There are several different approaches that can be taken when faced with making a decision.

These include:

  • Impulsiveness – Making the decision based on the first option that arises

  • Compliance – Opting for the decision which is the most popular amongst those who are impacted

  • Delegating – Not making the decision yourself but passing it on to others

  • Deflection – Avoiding making the decision

  • Balancing – Taking time to understand and weigh up the factors

  • Prioritising – Focusing on the decisions which will have the greatest impact

Each of these styles can be effective in different situations. The challenge is identifying which approach is best for the decision you are facing.

Risk Taking in Decision Making

Decisions that involve high risk can lead to slower decision making, as the possibility of adverse consequences can lead us to deflection or spending too long balancing. However, the reality is that all decisions will have an endless number of outcomes which are negative or positive, many of which we cannot predict in advance. There will always be risks that we did not perceive or control for, but on the other hand there are likely to be many positive outcomes which we are not able to predict either!

Some people may be more naturally risk averse whilst others feel more comfortable taking greater risks. Both of these extremes can be problematic so it’s key to understand your position and when it’s time to flex your approach to risk.

How Quick Decision Making Can Enhance Careers

It’s no secret that being able to make good decisions quickly can help you to get ahead. A survey found that respondents spent 37% of their time making decisions and that more than half of this time was spent ineffectively. The ability to spend less time making decisions, whilst still making the right ones, will provide you with more time and allow you to make better use of resources. This increases your productivity and value that you add to your organisation.

It is important to recognise that quick decision making is not the same as impulsive decision making. For many, the ability to make quick decisions is something that is developed over time. As we advance in our careers, our prior experience means that we have more knowledge and understanding of the outcomes of different decisions, allowing us to weigh up options more efficiently.

Decision making can be difficult. Some decisions may be easier than others and it is not unusual to spend more time on those decisions which may have a larger impact on our own lives or those of others.

Decision Making Ethics

When making decisions in business, it is natural for us to optimise for the best outcome for our organisation. Ethical decision making requires us to prioritise moral principles over our own personal interests and the economic interests of our organisation.

Ethical decisions encourage ethical behaviour and creates the foundation for an ethical culture within organisations.

One way that we can increase our ethical decision making is by embracing the balancing decision making strategy, as this allows us to compare options and consider the ethical implications more deeply as we weigh up the factors involved. We can also adjust when prioritising by ensuring that appropriate focus is given to those decisions that have the greatest ethical impact.

Decision Making as a critical skill

Overall, decision-making is a critical skill for success in organisations, and individuals who can make quick and effective decisions are highly valued. To make better decisions, it's essential to understand different decision making strategies and when to use them.

The ability to take calculated risks and prioritise decisions can also contribute to better decision making and ethical decision making is vital.

By embracing a balanced approach to decision making and prioritising decisions that have the greatest ethical impact, individuals can make better decisions that contribute to their career advancement, the success of their organisation and the lives of others.

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