Work Smarter – Decision Making

You will have felt it at some stage and will be able to relate to what I’m about to say; the sinking feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you stumble across the realisation that… you’re wrong.

It happens to everyone. No one is immune. We all understand the notion that more often than not, the best way to learn is through making mistakes and getting things wrong, but it doesn’t change the way it makes us feel. Getting it wrong is intrinsically linked to the decisions we make.

Think back to when you were in school; now do you honestly believe that the age-old testing system installed in our education institutions encourages learning from mistakes? Are you able to take a test home to revise the errors you made and then re-submit it? No.

As we grow up we have this ingrained in our psyche and, the very thought of making mistakes and getting it wrong instead fills us with feelings of embarrassment and worse of all, failure.

But as we get older and, perhaps a little wiser, we begin to question this idea. Then the idea dawns, what’s wrong with being wrong? Much of the psychology of being ‘wrong’ comes from aspects of ‘nurture’ we experience in childhood.

St. Augustine – “I err and therefore I am” (Fallor ergo sum)

So how do you challenge what you believe to be ‘right’ and, how can you use this notion to make better decisions? Below I have listed some of the techniques I use in my all areas of my life.

Get rid of the Bias

Having a bias opinion, conscious or unconscious, can largely impact on the decisions we make. Sometimes these biases aren’t even our own thoughts or ideas, but will be something we have heard or read from another time or person. Understanding this is the first step to ridding yourself of biases you might not have known you even had. It creates a cleaner slate for which you can make better informed, unprejudiced decisions.

Replace the myopic view

Short sightedness can kill businesses. Dealing with uncomfortable problems and making decisions so that things are fixed, or pushed to the side, for the short term, will not actually deal with the problem. It will sneak back in to the forefront of your business and you’ll be faced with making another decision. If you can make decisions based on long term goals and views, you’ll make time for yourself. We all know time equals money people.

Understand your strengths and weaknesses

You do not know it all and, believing you do will cause serious headaches. Incompetency creates imaginary blinkers for some, so much so that they can’t realise just how incompetent they actually are. These people learn to get their way through the use of persuasive language, not through the knowledge they possess.

Automate it

Have a set of rules to automate smaller, less stressful decisions so that they don’t take up more time than they should. Coming up with a process by which you run each scenario so you can determine how to make the most suitable decision given the circumstances and, after examining each internal and external factor which could affect the decision, you make one.


Ask yourself how does your potential decision sit with your morals and the morals of your business. Transparent and morally correct principles go a long way in cementing customer loyalty and trust; think about it.

Have a Plan B

Be prepared and have a Plan B. You will be well aware that not everything goes to plan, so the best way t handle this is to incorporate your Plan B in your initial decision. So that way, if x, y and z happen, your business can handle it.

There are many more techniques which can go a long way towards making better decisions, and you may choose to only incorporate a few of these tips. Either way, embracing the idea of being wrong and, challenging your notion of what is right, you can avoid the nightmare of decisions come back to haunt you.

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