We all make decisions – many based on “what feels right” rather than some “cookbook” recipe of right and wrong. Good decision makers see a high percentage of their “judgment calls” result in successful outcomes. People whose planned actions create more negative or “questionable” results than they do positive should probably avoid roles where making sound decisions is an essential part of their daily routine.
Good judgment is experience-based. We must actively seek a variety of experiences upon which we can draw to make good choices. Rarely can we assume a position of authority without having first experienced many different roles, responsibilities, successes and failures. Visualizing how one situation applies to another – dealing with the practical application of situations rather than just the theoretical facts – is a transition that many find difficult. (Probably the TWO exceptions to this rule are being in a personal relationship or being a parent. No experience or prior knowledge is typically available and there are no “proven methods guaranteed to work.” Perhaps that is why so many people feel at a loss when sharing a relationship or raising children!)
Good choices are more often the result of many small decisions – seeing and reacting to how they impact each other on the road to a major decision – than the infamous “ah-ha” moment creative and innovative trainers would lead you to expect. Great decisions are the result of careful analysis, thorough investigation, utilization of “cause/effect” processes and a conscious, willful implementation of an action plan intended to initiate cautious forward movement. We never have all the answers, nor should we pretend to ask all the right questions, but when we choose to move it should be with confidence so that others will follow.
In making decisions, we should avoid living within a vacuum. We must continually expose others within our sphere of influence to new and different situations as we apply our knowledge – allowing them to grow by failing – so that they, too, can develop the breadth of experiences from which future decisions are made. We will never be able to taste success until we prepare a successor to carry on as we grow – an often overlooked (but vital) part of the decision-making process.
Making good decisions is part of a process rather than an event. As situations change, so should our willingness to shift direction. Once decisions are made we should move on to other challenges rather than dwelling on the action taken and agonizing on those not taken. While we should monitor how actions play out, we must also let go so that we can move on to other opportunities. Decision-making begins with the realization that a need for judgment and action exists. It does not end until a reasonable solution is executed – and even then must be continuously monitored and reviewed. Time does not stand still nor rest on its laurels - Do YOU?