At a recent safety conference in New Jersey, I had the pleasure of watching guest speaker Anthony Littera talk about decision making.
Littera used a very compelling sports analogy to help the audience catagorize the decisions they make. He suggested some decisions are offensive- for instance, where you are advancing your career or taking risk. Other decisions are defensive- for instance, where you are mitigating risk (like buying insurance).
In his humorous speech, the safety guest speaker outlined the following 8 steps to make a decision:
1) begin with the end in mind
2) analyze all alternatives and don't get stuck in either /or thinking. Many people mistakenly think they only have 2 choices, do this or don't. In reality, there are usually many different potential scenarios. The best way to discover this is to eliminate the two obvious choices and consider what option is left.
3) identify and mitigate risks. Every decision ( including doing nothing) involves risk. Be aware of those risks and determine how you will respond should the worst case scenario happen.
4) distance yourself from short term emotion.
5) Avoid making emotional decisions against your own self interest. Quitting your job in a fit of rage may not be the best decision.
6) have a contingency plan (what is plan B?). Often after a decision is made, something changes and you have to alter your course. Many people only look for reasons why a decision they make is a sound one. Thus, they avoid any disparaging evidence that may indicate things could go amuck. Have a solid plan B before you make up your mind.
7) make your decision.
8) evaluate the outcome
The safety guest speaker suggested looking at decisions as a portfolio, not an isolated event. Looking at a decision from a bigger perspective is less daunting, as the risk is mitigated across your portfolio.