Making Decisions
Posted on Monday, 26 June 2017
Everything is a decision. We decide things from the minute we climb out of bed until the minute we climb back in it. Granted, not all of those decisions are going to be good ones, in fact, our humanity basically guarantees that they won’t, and that’s probably one of the reasons that making decisions can be such a stressful task. How, pray tell, can one be reasonably expected to decide between the red and the purple Skittles, obviously the two best flavors.

Sometimes the right choice to make is just not obvious. Or sometimes the choice is really obvious but carries with it an emotional weight that is difficult to bear. Imagine: two people, one is deathly allergic to peanut butter, the other is starving to death and you have to either give peanut butter to both of them or give it to neither of them. That’s tough and I truly hope no one is ever in that bizarre and very specific situation, but some decisions are like that; they’ll damn you if you do and damn you if you don’t.

Decisions can be emotional and practical and personal and professional and can affect no one or can affect many. It even sounds exhausting, doesn’t it? There’s plenty to consider before you pull on the decision making boots and make one. There are factors unknown and there are factors uncertain. There are situational complexities to consider. There are often several solutions or alternatives. There are risks and there are consequences that go with whichever one you decide to make.

To ‘kiss’: an action of affection, or a directive to an individual of apparent subpar intelligence to ‘keep it simple’. Following the advice of the latter, when you identify the problem that you need a solution to, defining it in the simplest way possible is will help make things much more comfortable when trying to define solutions. Unlike those kisses and cheek pinches from grandparents that are not at all comfortable, but you have to put up with those. You don’t have to put up with convoluted problems.

You know when you were a kid and you had a disparate group of toys from different series and you’d compile them all into one universe of your own making under a storyline that made little sense? Anyway, the beauty in that was that you were using all of your resources to make the best game you could, rather than just using one toy and settling there. Draw on your resource pool, your colleagues, your customers, your training, and your employees. Good ideas can come from anywhere; the more threads the better the yarn… or something.

While it may sound like a really bad head-cold, ‘brainstorming’ is a really powerful tool in your decision making arsenal, and not a viral infection of the sinuses. Rally the necessary troops and collectively and creatively input all of the solutions to your problem that you can. There’ll be some Betty Crocker’s in there, but there’ll be some unexpected gems too. Sift out the duds and then think about the likelihood, feasibility and viability of each potential solution to narrow the field to genuine options.

Remember when Wile E. Coyote would zip down to his local ACME store and buy a catapult in order to throw himself across a canyon to catch the Road Runner, but the toon world would abandon logic and gravity and physics to ensure that it never worked? Hilarious. But logic is important. Consider all the data you’ve compiled, think about why and when the decision needs to be made, and then make the most educated and logical decision that you possibly can; and if that decision happens to be ‘to catapult yourself across a canyon’ then Godspeed. Just don’t buy it from ACME.

Be confident in your decisions and you can expect others to be confident in them. Tell the ones affected by the decision about the effects of the decision, and if they’re concerned, then let them be concerned and tell you that they’re concerned. Allowing others to express their ideas or concerns regarding a decision is called feedback, and feedback is good stuff, it can help you make changes before the decision is too far gone and changes too far changed to change them back. When you’ve snipped the catapult counterweight rope and you’re soaring hundreds of feet above the canyon below, would be an example of ‘too far gone to change’.