Today is August 27, 2012 and today I want to talk to you about making more effective decisions.
If you want to make better and more effective decisions there are two steps you have to follow in order to do so.
Step number 1: Practice the three-minute rule. If you want to make more effective decisions the first thing you have to do is create white space in your decision-making process. What I mean by that is that you need to allocate three-minutes to clarify the key aspects of your decision. By allocating three minutes to clarify what a successful decision looks like for you your decision-making effectiveness will go up by one third.
Step number 2: Within your three-minutes answer the following three questions. What are the must haves, nice to haves and risks.
Must haves are the absolutely essential and non-negotiable aspects any alternative must have in order to be viable. For example, is it essential that I have a manual transmission in my car? Is it essential for me to have a sunroof or a six CD changer? Whatever I list here screens out all of the options that don’t have my must haves.
The second question is what are the nice to haves? What features, items, traits or characteristics do I think would be nice to have but are not essential. A folding rear seat may be nice for my car but is not essential.
The third question is what are the risks associated with this decision. What is the probability of the risk happening, and if so, how detrimental would it be if it does happen. For example, If I don’t elect to have the folding rear seats and want to transport my dog to the boarding kennel, what are the risks that I will only have the four door sedan at my disposal as opposed to our SUV? How frequently will that happen? And if it does, how severe of an issue will that be?
With all decisions there is a reality that needs to be considered. You will be 100% accountable for every decision you make. It is also true that you will never have enough information to make the right decision. There will always be new information that becomes available after you’ve made a decision, and your job then is to be flexible and nimble enough to respond appropriately.
So when you have 75 or 80% clarity on a decision – pull the trigger and go. The time you spend on getting the remaining 10 or 15% will not result in a quantitatively or qualitatively better decision.
Here are three questions for your consideration:
1. Is there a decision I have been putting off?
2. On a scale of 1 to 10 with one being low and 10 being high, how clear are you about the must haves, nice to haves and risks?
3. Have you devoted quality time to making this decision or have you been trying to sandwich it in in between other priorities?
4. Are you seeking a progressively better decision or are you seeking perfection?
5. Do all parties involved in the decision agree as to the must haves, nice to haves and risks? If not, see the previous Monday Morning Minute here.
If you want to enhance you decision making effectiveness individually or with your team, call and ask Hugh about his consulting and coaching programs.