At every point in our lives, whether on a daily, weekly, monthly or yearly basis, we find ourselves at the crossroads of making choices. Making decisions is an activity we perform more often than we allow ourselves to believe, starting from deciding to get out of bed, choosing what to eat or wear or making a decision about a choice. We are all products of our decisions hence the need to understand the concept of decision-making.
According to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary the term decision-making is “the process of deciding about something important, especially in a group of people or in an organization.” Another definition of decision making indicates that the “decision making process is a continuous and indispensable component of managing any organization or business activities.” Even though these definitions have been limited to the scope of work and business, decision-making is a continual process that we undertake in every part of our lives; our life, our love and our labor.
We are defined by the decisions that we make and those that we do not make because we are a mirror of the consequences and outcomes of these decisions. However, it is common to find in most people’s journeys that there is a gap in the integration of individual values and the process of decision making. Studies by a neuroscientist, Antonio Demasio, found that 95percent of the time we make decisions based on our feelings. This habit robs us of the power ‘to do’ because it is only in doing that we achieve and progress.
If we are more aligned with the goals, dreams and values that are supposed to encompass who we are, then we are meant to be making decisions based on the fact that we want to achieve rather than on the fact that we feel or do not feel like doing what we know is crucial in propelling us to our desired outcome.
The challenge with decision-making does not lie in our willingness or unwillingness to make these decisions, but in the unavailability of an understandable process by which we can make intelligent choices. The consequence of making a decision or indecision is the outcome. The outcome can either be good or bad. How many of us actually sit to analyze the consequences of the decisions we make before we decide?
Susan Welch, former Editor of the Harvard Business Review in her book ‘10 10 10’ discusses her model on how to make decisions. After being faced with several uncomfortable situations while she was trying to find a balance between work and family, she worked out the model called ‘10 10 10’.
This model advises a person tasked to make a decision at any point in time to consider the consequence of the choice they would make in the next 10 minutes, the next 10 months and the next 10 years. It is apparent that a good number of us make decisions to feel better in the next 10 minutes of our lives, only to be plagued by many more crossroads in the next 10 weeks, 10 months and 10 years simply because we chose our present comfort over that of our future.
Our ability to project the life we want to have in the very long term is the first step to consider in making any decision. Decisions are not made to make you feel good in the present. They are meant to be well-thought out and serve a higher purpose than the short-lived happiness of the next 10 minutes of our lives.
Mel Robbins, a Certified Public Speaker and Life Coach also talks about the 5 second rule. “There is a 5 second window between the instincts, the ‘shoulds’, the urges, the inner wisdom, the things that can change your life if you listen to it. There is a 5 second window from the moment you feel that instinct to move. And if you don’t, your brain is designed to kill it. The 5 second rule encourages you to count backwards from 5,4,3,2 to 1.
The neuroscience behind this rule explains that counting backwards is an action that requires focus. The moment you hesitate, your mind raises a red flag and puts you in a position of inaction and fear. That is the moment you need to make a decision because it is a Moment of Power.” Your failure to act and your failure not to act are both actions.
Now that we have understood what decision making is and studied a few concepts on it, what are the toolsets we can leverage to propel us to the next stage of our journey? The scale of the problem you are trying to find a solution to is not as big as the challenge of making a decision that best suits your situation. In High Performance decision-making, these are the 4 key things you would need to consider
- Raise necessity
In your quest to make a decision, you need to ask yourself whether there is a compelling and convincing ‘WHY’ you need to make the decision now. Your ‘WHY’ is the reason for making the decision in the time frame in which you have chosen to make it and why you feel the need to make a choice about that situation. What are the possible life obstructions that can arise from the decision I am about to make and what are the worthy values or achievements that can come about because of the choice I am about to make?
As a necessity, you should be enlightened about the category in which your decision falls: personal decision, family decision or work decision? The concept of raising necessity is all about need hence the question, “do I need to make this decision now?” If not, discard it. If it truly is a necessity, by all means make the decision and move on.
- Socialize the decision around the truth
Once you make your decision, you can bring people into the conversation. There will be the naysayers and the ‘yaysayers’. Each and every one of these people will have their view. Some will be subjective about the matter at hand and others will look at it from an objective point of view, while others will simply speak the truth of the matter.
What remains eminent in these conversations is to socialize the decision not on subjectivity, yay or nay, but simply around the truth. What are the truths about the ramifications and merits of the stance you are taking? No matter how hard it would be to accept the truth, after socialization the truth would stand. Decision making is not about the process of criticism and debate but about the truth.
- Enforce your no
All the winding roads of making a decision will take you to a place of positivity, even a ‘NO’. However, when you do say ‘NO’ for a decision there should not be the result of rescinding the ‘NO’ based on external influence or instinctive influence. There is a reason why you said ‘NO’ in the first place. Go back and reanalyze the processes and the reasons for your choice. If the ‘NO’ still outweighs any other affirmation, enforce the ‘NO’ and move on.
- The consistency of courage
Every choice you make requires your demonstration of courage to see it through. Nonetheless, it is not about how much courage you demonstrate but about how consistently you display your courage. Once you take the decision, whether it affects the big players, the small players, the middle players or you ultimately in the process, you need to look at this decision through the eyes of courage.
Courage is rightly defined as the ability to do something that frightens one. Yes, you may be afraid of the decision you have made but you should do it anyway no matter the opportunity cost. Nelson Mandela once said, “I learnt that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.
Whatever decision you make, even though it may have some component of worry, fear, anxiety, demonstrate courage through out the process. Even if the decision turns out to be a mistake, you made it and you will take responsibility for it. Remember that “your choices are a reflection of your hope and not your fears” – Nelson Mandela.
With these High Performance habits of decision-making, I hope that you will take on a more creative way of making your decisions and looking into the future. It is not just about having to say a yes or a no, making a choice because you have a right to or making a decision because fear cripples you into making one. It is all about raising necessity, socializing your decision around the truth, enforcing your NOs and being consistently courageous in the process of choice and execution.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Certified High Performance Coach, Global Speaker, Media Personality and award-winning Entrepreneur.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; the mother company that holds Dzigbordi Inc. & Allure Spa in The City. These brands provide services in Personal Impact & Development, Corporate Consulting, Wellness & Grooming.
Her coaching, seminars and training has helped many organizations and individuals to transform their image and impact, elevate their engagement and establish networks leading to improved and inspired teams, growth and productivity.
Her area of focus is Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power (H.E.L.P).