Leaders do not always have the luxury of time when making a critical business decision, yet research shows that quick decisions are often remarkably solid despite time pressures. Here are six strategies for coming to the best conclusion in a non-ideal situation.
Strategy 1: Define Your Result
Consider why you must make a prompt decision now. What is the most pressing problem, and what do you need to have happen as a result of the decision? If everything worked out the way you hope, what would be the outcome? Don’t get too caught up in a detailed list of pros and cons, because inevitably, some listed won’t be as important as others. Recognize that every option will likely have a downside as there is rarely a 100 percent perfect decision. You simply have to do the best you can with the data you have available at the time.
Strategy 2: Look Both Short and Long-Term
Envision how your decision will play out immediately, and how it will play out down the road. Understand your organization’s short and long-term goals and evaluate your decision in relation to both of those. Suzy Welch’s 10-10-10 method is one way to employ this strategy: think about the implications of your decision 10 minutes from now, 10 months from now, and 10 years from now!
Strategy 3: Reduce Your Risk with a Trial
If you are uncertain about the best path forward, can you test the impact of a particular decision on a small scale? For instance, can you implement a new process in a single department, or company-wide for only one month? Trials give you an out if a decision isn’t working, and also provide opportunities to modify your approach based on feedback.
Strategy 4: Talk to People Who Have Been There
Seek out those (either inside or outside your company) who have been in a similar situation and probe them about their learnings. You might also ask the opinions of those who will be directly affected by the decision, and those who are truly impartial. The more perspectives you can get, the better informed your decision will be. However, in order to protect yourself from analysis paralysis, don’t leave your inquiry open-ended. Instead, commit to a concrete decision after collecting points of view for a specified period of time.
For more strategies, head over to the QuickBase Fast Track blog.