How Are Your Decision Making Skills?

» Posted by on Feb 14, 2011 in Life, Psychology, Spiritual | 0 comments

Often when talking with “leaders,” husbands, wives, or parents, who are experiencing problems, difficulties, road blocks, resistance, revolts, failures, disappointments, or other catastrophe’s, it often can be traced back to making a poor decision.

Some questions to consider:  What is your process for making decisions?  Do you have a process?  How do you decide whether or not to purchase a washer and dryer?  Whirlpool or Maytag, Lexus or Volkswagon?  Are you a leader? Pastor?  Business Owner?  Parent?  Are you aware that decisions have long lasting effects on the future, the flock, our finances, our spouse, children, patrons and a host of other people as a result?

Poor decisions and undesirable outcomes are often the result of making decisions without obtaining information and data necessary to make a wise decision.  Poor decisions are usually made without obtaining advice from those who are directly effected by the decision, procrastinating and not making a decision at all, or failing to communicate or implement the decision.  When we procrastinate and fail to make a decision, we actually make a decision; the decision to do nothing.  At times, the decision to do nothing can be an effective decision. It’s important to understand that doing nothing, is a decision.  Will doing nothing help accomplish your goals?

Having a process in place for making decisions is essential.  Your team, parishioners, family, and those involved with implementing decisions need to understand what the process is.  Otherwise, decisions just seem to happen….or not……in “back rooms,” conference rooms or hallways.  Without an established process in place, clear decisions are rarely made, they’re poorly communicated, and usually shoddily implemented.  Results?  You’re unhappy because those who are “supposed” to implement the decision didn’t know about it, weren’t asked about, aren’t “on-board with it,” and they are disgruntled because they don’t feel involved or communicated with.

Decisions should not be made without involving the appropriate advisors, and people who have knowledge and wisdom related to the decision to be made.  Advisors may be financial experts, spouses, Consumer Reports, lawyers, doctors, lay-people, peers, engineers, builders, children, scientists, counselors, anyone who has knowledge, experience, or who will ultimately be effected by the decision.  Decisions should not be made in the vacuum of your office or your “head.”  I’m always a little amazed and stunned when counseling with leaders (or spouses) who are simply reaping the rewards of a decision(s) made without any input or “advice” from those who have wisdom, experience, or those  effected by the decision.  It’s always a source of anger, disrespect, and a host of other negative feelings when decisions are made without obtaining “buy-in” or advice, from others expected to implement or live with the decision.


In order to make the “best” decision:

  • Establish and publish a process for making decisions.  Frame the decision correctly.  What exactly is being decided?  (This is not as easy as it sounds)  Who is going to make the final decision?
  • Obtain adequate input from “advisors” who can bring expertise or experience to the debate.
  • Identify a number of viable options.  There are  ALWAYS options.  There is never only one option for a decision.
  • Consider the pros and cons of various options.  Make a list and compare benefits vs disadvantages for each of the viable options.
  • Make a decision.  Yes make a decision.
  • Communicate the decision to all parties.

Now, what if you have made a poor decision in the past and would like to correct it?   I’ll address that questions in the near future.

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