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Posts Tagged ‘decision making’

To err is human, and it is through our mistakes and failures we learn the most, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t strive to make the best decisions we can.

Effective decision-making can be developed, just like every other business or personal skill, and the ability to make consistently sound choices will set you apart regardless of your role or level, whether you are paid or a volunteer.

Using a few simple strategies, you can improve your problem-solving skills and minimise the chances of making a less than ideal decision. And when you do, you can live with the consequences, whatever they may be.

Think 100 times before you take a decision, but once that decision is taken, stand by it as one man.”

– Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Don’t procrastinateIf a decision is particularly tough, it can be tempting to put it off on the basis you need time to think it over, or at least that is the story you tell yourself. It’s true that it may take some time to research and review to make difficult decisions well, but delaying unnecessarily is not helpful. Consider the pros and cons, make a list if that helps, forecast the consequences and then act.

Don’t make it personal Ego driven and emotional decisions are rarely good ones. Being personally invested can and will cloud your judgement. Objectivity is more important than personal gain when it comes to good decision making.

Get a second opinion – You are not the first person to face this kind of situation, and you probably won’t be the last. Why not ask someone more experienced and learn from their mistakes instead of making your own? If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. Being self-aware and seeking advice makes you stronger, not vulnerable.

Check your facts – When it comes to collecting information to make a decision, it’s unlikely you will ever get the complete picture, which is ok. Your aim is to make the best decision based on the information that is available to you, so the key is to make sure the data you use is the best it can be. Seek feedback from stakeholders where appropriate, and consult tried and trusted sources if you want your end results to improve.

Anticipate the worst – Expect the best possible result. We never plan to fail, but consider the consequences of the worst case scenario as a result of your decision. If you can live with that, then the risk is acceptable. If you can’t, you may need to start at the beginning and review where you can make changes.

“Fall seven times and stand up eight.”

– Japanese Proverb

Some decisions will always be made at gut instinct level, and some of the time they will be right. There will always be a place for these kind of judgements, especially when an immediate response is required. In fact, sometimes gut instinct is all you have. However the risk in these situations are higher. Collecting information and reviewing the options and consequences in a clear and structured manner in a sound framework will always be safer and more consistent.

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Whether you are in business for yourself, an employee of an organisation or a volunteer on a committee of management, the value of taking a holiday can be significant.

Taking the holiday gives you a chance to recharge the batteries and simply gives the body and brain a chance to rest.  Even if you love and enjoy what you are doing you should still have a break as it can also allow you to spend more time with your family and friends.  Often when you are very busy it is the impact on your family and friends you don’t see until it is too late.

Another benefit of taking a holiday is that it can give you an opportunity to review what you are doing and whether things can be done better.  In some cases when you are working flat out you may be missing out on opportunities that are right there in front of you.  You may not be seeing ways of improving what you are doing.  It’s so easy to get sucked into routine, isn’t it?  It’s not until you stop and step away from routine that other possibilities begin to unfold.

The holidays allow you to start the day feeling refreshed and full of energy and offer you time for thinking without the daily distractions.  It’s not by accident that people often return from holidays having made some major decisions.

People who haven’t taken a holiday in a long time are likely to say they simply don’t have enough time for it, but having a break over a long weekend can be easily done and can also be relatively inexpensive.

Besides the major health benefits of taking a holiday, having time out with your family, kids or your friends is just good fun and enjoyable.  Find the time to take a holiday and give yourself a break as you will be better off for it.

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Values are an integral part of life and play an important role in the way your life is played out.

They are, of course, highly personal and can vary significantly from person to person.  It is important that you know what your values are, so you can live the life you want the most.  Knowing your values is essential so you can make the decisions that will direct you in the direction of your goals.

What Are “Values”?

Values are those things in your life that mean something to you; from love and relationships, health and wealth to your friendships, integrity in your business to your success, your desire to learn and your hunger for adventure.

Whatever your values are, it is imperative that they suit you.

Your values, in no particular order, might be:

  • Love
  • Intimate relationships
  • Family
  • Health
  • Wealth
  • Business
  • Learning
  • Security
  • Success
  • Fun
  • Adventure
  • Experiences

Each of these values will also have their own, personal meaning to you and will fit within your lifestyle.

Knowing your values enables you to think clearly about the deicisions you make in relation to any and all aspects of your life.  When a new opportunity arises, whether it is a business partnership, a new job, a family holiday or you’ve been asked out on a date, you are able to carefully consider your values.

Does this opportunity meet your values, and will it take you a step closer towards your goal?  If it does, what decisions do you need to make to implement it?  If not, then the decision has been made for you.  The answer is simply, “no thank you”.

Still need more information – here is an article which you may find particularly helpful on the subject.

Do you know your values?

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To have or not to have – a mentor – that is the question.

What, you might ask, is mentoring? Mentoring is a partnership through which one person shares knowledge, skills, information and perspective to foster the personal and professional growth of someone else.

In short – “Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” John C. Crosby

But, you might ask, how do I find the right person to be my mentor? If you are already in the workforce ask if your company or organisation has an existing mentoring program. If there is no system in place, be brave and bold and personally ask questions in order to find the right person.

The right person will be someone you admire and has the skill-sets that you wish to develop. Don’t be afraid to ask somone directly. People feel honoured if you ask them to share their skill and expertise with you.

Think about other opportunities for mentors: your family and friends, people you admire, networking organisations or your university alumni. These are all good places to start looking. An important quality to consider is the time availability of your potential mentor – will they have the time to devote to assisting your career development?

You may want to have more than one mentor, one within the organisation you work for and one who is a more objective outsider to your workplace. The final step in the process is to approach the person concerned and invite them to be your mentor; you may wish to do this over a lunch date or a coffee.

Once you and your mentor start working together you will find great solace in having a professional sounding board and professional guide in your life. One day you too may be in a position to offer yourself as a mentor to a struggling star and share your own wealth of knowledge and insights.

You’ve got absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain from finding yourself a mentor!!

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Decision makingMaking a decision as a committee can be a long and difficult process.  I know that I have often felt like nodding off during that part of a meeting.  Sometimes you can be lucky and find that everyone supports the decision.  More often, though, there is a lot of discussion that needs to happen first.

The best group decisions are made by consensus, which means ‘by general agreement’.  It doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with the decision but it does mean that everyone can accept it. 

How does your committee reach a decision?

Many committees will take their issues to a vote.  The highest number wins.  The only problem with this as a form of decision making is that it might leave some members with major objections to the result.  We all know that this eventually leads to trouble later on and sometimes even to the loss of a good committee member.

A decision made by consensus is different.  The process involves every committee member.  A proposal is submitted and each person is asked to express their opinion and explain their reasoning.  All the ideas are valued and might require the proposal to be re-drafted or tweaked as a result. 

The process can be lengthy but the result is very powerful.  It creates a decision that all committee members can live with and it will be supported by the entire group.  Remember the definition?  Consensus doesn’t mean that everyone agrees with the decision but it does mean that everyone can accept it.  Those are the key words.

Next week I will show you how to use this powerful decision-making process with your committee.

Here’s to treasurer software

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Some persons are very decisive when it comes to avoiding decisions.                 ~Brendan Francis

Decision making is something we have to do on a daily basis.  What spread will you have on your toast?  What colour shirt will you wear?  We make these decisions without even consciously thinking about it.

Then there are those other decisions……

There are people I know who do everything they can to avoid making a decision.  They ask everyone else for their opinion.  They research until they have read everything ever written on the topic.  Still they hesitate.

Sometimes you just have to make a decision.  Do something.  There are pro’s and con’s for everything in life and no decision will ever be any different. Nothing will change and nothing will work until you take some sort of action.  Make a decision and act on it.  It might not be right but it won’t be wrong, either.

The best thing is that once you have made your choice you will find the weight lifts off your shoulders.  It is the agonising that is the hard part, not the deciding!

Here’s to treasurer software

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