G. John Cole 4m 1,042 #decisionmaking
The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Improving Your Decision-Making Process At Work
How many decisions do you make at work each day? Consider not just the big decisions – such as which projects to accept or which applicants to take on – but also the little ones, like whether to reply to that email today or tomorrow, whether to confront a colleague or let it pass, or whether to work an extra hour at the end of the day or go home early and come back rested.
It soon adds up – and if you’ve never put any thought into your decision-making process, then you could be damaging your business prospects by responding too emotively or automatically to the everyday issues that arise at work.
In fact, there’s a whole science behind decision-making, and spending some time working out which techniques are best for which situation can be highly beneficial to your career. For example, if you have trouble making decisions altogether, you might start by immediately opting for one choice over another – and then having a period of reflection. This may sound back-to-front, but making that choice to start with can make its implications more ‘real’ and give you a better shot of assessing it properly.
If you work alone, it can help to imagine explaining your decision to a stranger. Would it seem objective in their eyes – or are you being overly swayed by personal factors? Again, this technique helps to raise the process out of the realm of the hypothetical.
The people at Net Credit have put together an excellent new visual guide to these and more decision-making techniques. Check it out as soon as you can, because those decision-making moments are never-ending.
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How to make objective decisions
Being able to make a rational, non-emotional, and successful decision is one of the most essential skills in life. So why are most of us so terrible at it?
Why is objective decision making so difficult?
Our mind is our most powerful tool yet it can also be our biggest obstacle. This means there are lots of ways in which we let our emotions affect our decisions.
We let our mood affect our choices.
Conducted over 5 years and 26 cities, one study found that greater morning sunshine led to higher stock market prices.
We trust emotions instead of logic.
People prefer car Journeys following a major air disaster despite the fact that accidents are more likely on the road.
Too much information frightens us.
A 2003 study on pension plans found that the more choices people were presented with, the less likely they were to participate.
We are selective about the information we use.
Confirmation bias is when we focus on the facts and examples that support our opinion, instead of things that might prove us wrong.
9 ways to make more objective decisions
Fortunately, there are many methods that can help us to think more clearly. Try out some of these tips the next time you’ve got an important decision to make.
1. Make a decision that appears to be objective
in a Princeton University study, participants were asked to make a decision that would appear to someone else.
Tip: To avoid your bias Blind-spot, approach things as if you were a disinterested party. Would you still find your process objective?
2. Set a default position from the start
research has shown that by changing the base question, the decision-making dynamic can be shifted for the better.
Tip: Rather than comparing choices, start by picking one option and simply decide whether to stick with it or not.
3. Take 10 minutes to clear your mind
A study for the Association of Psychological Science showed that extreme emotions fade and we return to a neutral emotional Baseline quicker than we think.
Tip: Before making a decision, take 10 minutes to listen to music or look at cute kittens online and like yourself to relax.
4. Reframe negatives into positives
Changing how you view an event leads to a lower emotional impact and, thus, clearer decision making.
Tip: Ask yourself: “What are the positive outcomes of this problem?” This will help you steer away from a negative mindset.
5. Understand the mood you are in
Our moods affect our decision-making: feeling happy makes us more optimistic, and sadness increases are pessimism.
Tip: To identify your mood, write a list of three things you are feeling right now.
6. Control your love of ‘recency’
” we pay a lot of attention to the most recent information, discounting what came earlier,” Wright’s behavioral Economist George Loewenstein of Carnegie Mellon University.
Tip: Avoid overvaluing recent information by putting it in the right context, like reading your emails and blocks are only checking the news at the end of the day.
7. Get to the core of the issue
Using the Root Cause Analysis method of “Asking why five times,” you can build the ladder to getto the bottom of most problems.
Tip: Search France’s that are based on facts and avoid focusing on guessing at what might have happened.
8.Use a structured technique
following a standard decision-making process, such as the GOFER technique, gives you a clear idea of your own thoughts and motivations, leading to better choices.
Tip: Just follow the five steps
Goals– Survey your objectives
Options–Consider your possibilities
Facts–Find the relevant information
Effects–Imagine the outcomes of your actions
Review–Plan your implementation of the action
9. Measure everything on the same scale
identifying our own preferences can be a major problem when faced with options with multiple deciding factors, according to Angelika Dimoka, Director of the Center for Neural Decision Making.
Tip: put a numerical value between 0 and 1 on your preference for an outcome. But putting all the options on the same scale, you can measure previously and comparable choices.
Objective decision making is not an easy task. However, with greater self-awareness and the right tools, you can start easing emotion out of the process and taking total logical control.
About the Author
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John is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in the UK, Norway, and the Balkans.