Ten tips to help you make better decisions
David Wethey, founder AAI, shares his thoughts on decision making and business meeting challenges.
My book DECIDE was published on 5th February. To celebrate, I’d like to share with you five thoughts on decision making in general, and five on that most frustrating of business experiences – the Meeting.
- Beware the obvious. As HL Mencken said, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong!” You can’t get things right simply by being consistently right. Making mistakes is the way we learn.
- Avoid Information Overload. Data is like fine wine. Too little and you will be miserable. Too much, and it will cloud your judgment. Petrol’s no use till you put it in a tank. Data’s no use till you put it in a decision.
- Two problems are easier than one. Solve the simpler one first, and see how that helps you tackle the more serious one. It’s like doing a crossword.
- Don’t agonise about upsides. They are obvious and seductive. Spend time on the downsides. They are many and dangerous.
- Success comes from making decisions, not putting them off or fudging them.
- Analyse all the meetings you attended last week. How many had an agenda? How many led to making a decision? Learn from the more productive ones.
- Look at the meetings in your diary this week. How many will produce a result you couldn’t achieve any other way? Before all the meetings, ask what it’s FOR, and what success would look like. Then you can contribute fully.
- Don’t allow the meeting to wallow in problem-solving. Concentrate on opportunities. They allow us to make progress, innovate and grow.
- Try the Stepladder Technique. Start the meeting with just one other person. Add one person at a time. Bring them up to date with what’s been achieved so far, and what is still unresolved. Be disciplined. Limit participants to five in total.
- A decision means nothing till you take it outside the room in which it was made. At all costs, avoid using telephone conference calls for communicating decisions. If a live meeting is not possible, Video and Skype are far better than trying to do it on the phone. You need to see the eyes!
Read more from David Wethey in our Clubhouse.