How to be an effective decision maker

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We have all done it. When given the choice between two things, we sometimes do not necessarily know what to choose. It could be between two jobs, what to eat, where to go on vacation, or even who to date and eventually marry. Continuing with that thread, many people even have trouble deciding whether or not they want to have children.

However, a leadership advisor named Mike Myatt recently wrote in Forbes about several ways in which to make better decisions, and how to think about the future when making them. He advises dozens of Fortune 500 CEOs, and understands what we all go through when we are wracked by indecision.

How to do it wrong

When we are making a decision, many of us do it simply based upon gut instinct. Myatt says that this is not necessarily the best move because our “gut” is controlled by our internal subconscious biases as well as does not have enough overarching information in order to make a good and sound decision.

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There are also those who try to take in as much information as possible before making a decision. Although this is an important step and enables you to have a more nuanced, informed decision, you still need to be able to refine and reflect upon that information to fully understand what it says and what the information truly points to.

How to do it right: advice

One of the best things that you can do in making a concrete decision is asking people for advice. It is good to get a set number of people who will give you advice, especially if many of them have different or dissenting opinions. This way you will be able to see the problem more clearly and understand the positives and negatives of the tracts to take in your decision making process much more clearly.

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However, when doing this, it is imperative that you ask yourself certain questions of the individuals handing you their advice. Are they trustworthy? Are they usually right? Do they have a hidden bias or agenda which they are trying to push? Have these other people been successful in their decision making?

How to do it right: Cost benefit analysis

One of the easiest ways to make a decision, and usually the most effective, is by conducting a cost/benefit analysis. All you need to do is take a sheet of paper and write Cost and Benefit at the top on two different sides, and draw a line down the middle. Then start writing as many costs and benefits as you can think of. Then look and see your results.

Just because one column is longer does not mean it is the correct judgement. What is important is the value you place on those answers, and that goes solely according to your character and preferences.

How to do it right: do it

So you have made all of the cost benefit analysis, you have spoken to people for advice, you have weighed your options, and now there is just one last thing that you have to do – actually go for it.

You need to take your decision and stick to it. There is no turning back now – just go out and do it.

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