Which Way Do We Go?

IMG_3995According to researchers at Cornell University, the average adult makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 35,000 conscious decisions each day. Some of these are fairly trivial; take what to eat for example. Decisions about food account for as many as 226 of the choices we make daily. Any one of them has little impact on our lives. Other choices are more serious. Making a wrong decision can often lead to very negative consequences. String too many of those together and the stress can become overwhelming.

At least it did for one anonymous woman from the United Kingdom. Earlier this year, she took a look back at the significant decisions she’d made in 2018 and decided she needed some help. She’d lost money after trusting someone she though was a friend. On another occasion, she found herself penniless and stranded in a foreign country. Back home, she got mugged taking an unfamiliar shortcut. After entering and exiting a toxic relationship, she figured enough was enough.

So in February she posted an ad on a professional services website: “Hiya, bit of a weird one I know but basically, I feel like I need someone to make my decisions for me. I’ve had a really rubbish year and would love for someone to take control of my life (think of it a bit like a real life Bandersnatch). I have no idea if this sort of thing exists, but came across clairvoyants when I was looking for another service, so thought it was worth a shot.”

The ad goes on to offer $2,000 pounds in exchange for one month of on-call decision-making service – “long enough to get things back on track…”

While trusting important life decisions to a complete stranger may not be the wisest move, it’s easy to see how someone can get frustrated enough to go this route. With so many decisions to make, how can we be sure we’re making the right choices? How can we confidently make decisions that improve the team and our business?

Perhaps it starts by employing the right decision-making strategy. There are six common methods for making decisions, and most of us employ a combination of these as we navigate the thousands of choices we’re confronted with each day.

  1. Impulsiveness – Leverage the first option you are given and be done with it.
  2. Compliance – Choose the most pleasing, comfortable, and popular option as it pertains to those impacted.
  3. Delegation – Don’t make the decision yourself. Leave it to others you trust.
  4. Avoidance/Deflection – Either avoid or ignore decisions in an effort to evade the responsibility that comes with the consequence(s).
  5. Balancing – Weigh the factors involved. Study them and use the information to render the best decision in the moment.
  6. Prioritization/Reflection – Put the most energy, thought, and effort into those decisions that will have the greatest impact.

One of the best resources for decision-making is your strategic plan. It’s the physical embodiment of the prioritization/reflection technique. Your plan helps you know where to focus your time, your brain power, and your energy – because the only things on your strategic plan are those which will help you move the business forward. Any time you are faced with a key decision regarding the future of the organization, simply run it through the filter of your strategic plan. That one decision will get you moving in the right direction.

Of course, you could always just pay a stranger to tell you what to do.