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Decision Making: Plan A or Plan B – Who Knows?

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Decision Making is like any other muscle: the more you use it, the stronger it gets. And, the less you use it, the weaker it’ll become. Making decisions comes down to practice. But it’s not so simple as just making more decisions. You need to have new strategies and techniques that will build your decision muscles.

It’s exactly like weight training. You need proper technique, combined with the best exercise and then practice repeatedly to reap the benefits of the training. And, decisions are not entirely all about knowledge.

Top Decision Makers know it comes down to your thought process, your mindset and ultimately, your psychology. But like anything, peak performance can be modeled, taught, and learned.

Making a decision is finally about Action. You can spend all the time in the world researching, analyzing, and thinking your mindset is right but if you don’t take the Action, simply making the Decision, nothing happens.

Action is really the key component to Decision Making. In my consulting, I run across so many companies who are truly paralyzed by their owner’s or CEO’s lack of decision making. Nearly in all cases, this “stuck” moment is because the person doesn’t “know” which choice is the best.

True decision-making Pros learn to still make decisions and take Action, even when they might not be 100% sure between a Option A or Option B.

I have a favorite story that will highlight this.

The US Military wanted to deploy an entirely new strategy related to their missile configuration. It involved not only new technology but a new setup. There were 2 distinct options.

So, 2 different groups took 2 years to study an option. Each team was made up of the best minds, scientist and military strategists.

The 2 groups finished their assessment and then presented in a secret meeting in the Pentagon in front of the head General over the project and his officers. After the presentation of both options, the General asked his confidants which option they thought was best. The room split and kept going back and forth as to which one would work. After 5 minutes more, the General stopped the talking and said, “we’re going with option 1.” He rose and headed to the door. The other group protested but he said “I’ve made up my mind.” He had listened to each option for less than one hour.

After the meeting, the General’s Chief of Staff asked the General “I’ve studied both options for the last month in preparation for this meeting and any questions you might have. How did you know which option would work?” The General smiled and said, “I didn’t. I had no idea. If the best minds in our military can’t decide which option was better, how could I? But I could make a decision. We’ll try number one and then we’ll know if it worked or not.”

The morale of the story is that a Decision will also result in Feedback, positive or negative. Only “InAction” or “InDecision” brings zero results.

Here are a few Actionable Suggestions that can bring you immediate results.

• For one week, quit “assessing.”
• To me, assessing is always “over-thinking.” Here’s a little secret: You Always know the Answer if you’ve done proper analysis or research. If you’ve arrived at a “choice” of options, then you have all of the answers. Anything you do AFTER you’ve reached this stage is Over-Thinking. Stop crossing over this point of moving from “reaching” a decision to “over-thinking.”
• Key: If you don’t have an Option or Answer (at least 1), you’re not ready for a Decision.
• If you have Options, for one week, just choose one and go with it. See if the choice you made worked or not.
• For one week, do NOT postpone or Procrastinate on a Decision. Take action immediately. Remember, “No Decision” is a Decision. There is NO neutral in reality.
• For one week, “Time Yourself.” Literally put yourself “on the clock.” Use a Timer on your smartphone or you can even purchase a chess timer. Regardless, when you have a Decision to make, set the timer for 60 seconds. By the time the buzzer sounds, make a decision. Like the General’s story, learn to simply make a decision and see how it turns out. You can always adjust based on the Feedback.

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Pat Mixon
Pat Mixon is a Time & Efficiency Expert and the founder of Executive Training Camp, the world’s premier place for 21st Century training, strategies, and systems that allow Manager, Executives, and Business Owners to take their game to the next level. Pat’s in the business of giving people BACK THEIR TIME. Pat writes about and helps individuals learn new systems and strategies around Time Management, Delegation, Email Management, To Do Lists, Meeting Management, Making Decisions, and Managing/Working Remotely and more. He is also managing partner at The Infrastructure Company. Visit his website at: ExecTrainingCamp.com and his firm’s consulting website for finance, accounting, operations and technology at TheInfrastructureCompany.com.
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