Every decision we make has an outcome which will affect us but can easily affect others. This can make it difficult at times to make decisions, the fear of the outcome. Luckily I am not in the position to make life or death decisions as some people are but having worked in the NHS, I was faced with many decisions that affected peoples’ lives.
The small everyday decisions we make, we often don’t think too long or hard about because the impact upon making that decision is not too great. Already today I have decided upon what time to get up, what type of breakfast to have and what work task to do first. All of these would have just impacted upon myself with no great consequences.
It’s when we are faced with “bigger” decisions that we can hesitate or bury our head in the sand. Mistakenly we can believe that if we do nothing then it will go away. Sometimes this may happen but someone else makes the decision for you but then you’re stuck with not making that choice. We can also put ourselves into a state of limbo – where nothing happens apart from frustration and worry building up. Limbo can be a horrible place to be in, nothing changes or shifts and you get stuck there. It is often said that it is much better to at least make a decision than none at all.
Our fears about possible consequences to our decisions are often assumptions and linked into our own belief system – “what if........ I make a mistake, I’m wrong, they won’t like me?” Some of these outcomes may happen but at least you have moved forward and learnt something from it.
In work/management situations a more cognitive approach is taken often without an emotional component in order to achieve an end result. To give decision making a definition: “Decision making is the process of making choices by identifying a decision, gathering information, and assessing alternative resolutions”.
In these situations there are step-by step processes that can be adhered to:
7 Steps in Effective Decision Making
6 Steps in Decision Making process
When I work with my coaching clients the decisions to be made are often loaded with emotional content and the most effective way I have found to help clients through this process is to use 4 Outcome Questions.
I have used these questions over many years to enable my clients to broaden their thinking about the decision to be made.
Just by asking these four questions will raise awareness of the consequences of the decision and also identify what is really important.
Here they are:
¨ What would happen if you did make that change?
¨ What would happen if you didn’t make that change?
¨ What wouldn’t happen if you did make that change?
¨ What wouldn’t happen if you didn’t make that change?
They may seem simple but write down your answers to each and then go back and add more, think laterally and allow your subconscious to guide you.
At the end of this process you should have a clearer picture on what decision you are going to make. Then the most important aspect is to act upon your decision, don’t leave it on paper or keep it in your head – DO IT! Whatever the consequences are at the very least you have taken action, stepped out of limbo land and learnt from the process.
If I can be of any further help in understanding how to apply this process please do not hesitate to contact me www.redoakcoaching.co.uk