It isn’t news to you that today’s turbulent work environment is in a state of flux—one that charges you with resolving far more problems at an ever-increasing pace. Nor are they the straightforward black and white decisions from the good-old-days instead you’re struggling with shades of gray choices. You live it every single minute of every day!
There are two imperatives for why you should improve your decision-making capabilities no matter the position you hold:
First, is for the profitability of your company. Bain research reveals business decision-making effectiveness correlates 95 percent to your company’s financial performance. Additionally, when following the decision effectiveness of managers and executives, they found 98 percent failed to apply best practices.
Second, is for your job security. One of the distinctions standing between your work responsibilities being outsourced to lower wage employees overseas or technology replacing you is your ability to think, create, and make wise decisions for your organization.
So, let’s explore a couple of ways to transform your thinking prowess to generate outstanding results.
Solve Root Issues—Not Just Easy Fixes. Peter Senge, in his seminal and still relevant book The Fifth Discipline, suggests many erroneous judgments made in the past are responsible for costly problems resurfacing—even when you may not be aware of any connections. Too frequently decision-making addresses only the symptom; and then, poof the concern disappears! Aftereffect analysis confirms the resolution is on-target. After all, the problem is gone. Unfortunately, this quick fix mentality is a recipe for disaster leading to ongoing troubles in the organization. You see root issues are usually the real culprit—not the warning sign symptom you tackled. Commit to digging deeper by asking: “What led to this action?” “Is there something else that relates to today’s difficulty?” And don’t stop until you uncover what the real stimulus is—that’s what you want to spend time identifying and working out.
Move Out of Your Comfort Zone: Columbus Business School found individuals who switch tasks at set intervals are more creative than those who switch at their own discretion and those who complete tasks sequentially. But don’t think by choosing to shift your focus periodically you’ll win the day. This same research reports those deciding for themselves to switch do so less often than those directed to do so. Why is it important to know and practice refocusing your attention? An individual who switches between a series of creative problem-solving tasks at regular intervals outperforms those who don’t! The researchers believe Cognitive Fixation just may be the culprit. So, stop holding on to your decision-making comfort zone and instead, force yourself to diversify your thinking. Additionally, set a clock to interrupt your decision-making concentration and break away to allow your mind the space to devise original solutions.
To wrap it up, learn to Light Up the Gray Areas of Decision-Making by renouncing status-quo thinking and embracing a new line of attack to solve the problems facing you and your company. As Margaret J. Wheatley states in Leadership and the New Science, “Anytime we see systems in apparent chaos, our training urges us to interfere, to stabilize and shore things up. But if we can trust the workings of chaos, we will see that the dominant shape of our organizations can be maintained if we retain clarity about the purpose and direction of the organization.”
Always keep in mind, with forethought, decision-making is the opportunity for rebirth. This rebirth aspect of problem-solving offers you the chance to reinvent your processes, systems, and organization for the long haul. Such a mindset will benefit both your company and your career.