Monica Jackman is a Life Coach with Neuroscience and a Counsellor with twenty-five years of experience in the areas of mental health and wellness, working with Employee Assistance Programmes (EAPs) and international organisations. Monica is accredited with the Irish Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (IACP) and with the World Association for Coaching with Neuroscience (WACN). Monica works with individuals and groups helping them to work on their values, to develop their emotional intelligence, business skills and building their confidence to achieve their personal and professional goals.
Decision-making is a key skill required to run any business. The quality of decision-making at all levels of the business has a direct impact on the long-term success of the organisation and the job satisfaction of its employees. This article addresses some of the key considerations when making decisions.
Ask the difficult questions
It’s important to establish all the relevant facts before a decision is made. Difficult questions often need to be asked before a decision can be made. Some examples of good questions to ask are:
- What would be gained by taking an action and what would be lost by taking an action?
- What would be gained by not taking an action and what would be lost by not taking an action?
- How would significant others be affected by a decision? It is important to consult with the relevant people who will be directly affected or who will be involved in contributing to the process.
What is the benefit or cost in the long term? It may not be the best decision if there is an immediate benefit but a cost in the long term.
Get support when making a decision
It is good to get support when making a decision. There are many business mentors and coaches who have been in a similar situation before, and they are able to assess a situation from the outside in an objective way with knowledge from their previous experiences. Consult with people who have the relevant experience and knowledge. This may mean listening to team members who work for you at a different level, and it is important to give them credit for their contribution.
Prioritise the decisions
Some decisions may need to be made urgently to deal with a crisis situation. It is important to remember to revisit the problem afterwards to address the root cause in order to prevent the same problem reoccurring. Consider budgets, resources, delivery of high quality products or services, customer satisfaction and high employee morale.
Make the decision
Things may not change until a decision is made. It is possible to stay in a state of indecision for so long that the ability or the opportunity to choose is lost. It is possible to accumulate evidence and reasons for a long time without furthering the motivation to decide. It is often more stressful to
stay in indecision than to make a decision. Another possible danger is to make a decision and then not act on it.
Communicate the decision
Communication of a decision that affects a department or the whole organisation should be done as soon as possible so that the people who are affected by the decision are in the loop. Many leaders can procrastinate on making a decision because they fear the reaction of staff or other stakeholders. Ultimately the responsibility for making a decision lies with the leader. Communication will help a leader to build trust with their team as the team knows that there is someone in charge who will lead them and take charge when needed and that there is a responsible person who will make decisions in a timely manner.