No one makes perfect decisions all the time, but knowing the following facts about decision-making can help.
1. Groups make better decisions than individuals.
No, groups are not perfect decision-makers. And yes, sometimes they do take a bit longer to make a decision since there is more than one person with an opinion and processing these opinions takes a little more time. However, according to Dr. Daniel Goleman, an internationally recognized psychologist and researcher, in most cases, groups do make better decisions than individuals with one exception – when the group does not get along and lacks harmony. Follow the advice of Proverbs 15:22, “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.”
So what should you do with this? When faced with decisions, especially complex ones, seek guidance before deciding.
2. Too many options result in fewer decisions.
While people love variety, research continues to demonstrate that when people are faced with too many options, they often will choose to do nothing. Why? Because people tend to get overwhelmed, and when they do, inaction is often the result. It is interesting that while most supermarkets now carry over 40,000 items, Aldi’s carries under 2,000. Their formula could be summarized as quality, affordability and simplicity. And Aldi’s is growing at a very fast pace.
So what should you do with this? Reduce your complexity by taking some options off of the list in order to increase the likelihood of making a decision.
3. After advice, one of the most important elements for a decisions is… courage.
Peter Drucker once said, “Wherever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Why? Because seldom do we have complete or infallible information before making a decision. If we did, it would be so easy and stress-free. But talk to any leader and you will find that making decisions requires courage – involving some element of risk. It is the anxious or weak leader or board who continues to punt (“we will leave that to the next guy to decide”), postpone (“we will tackle that later”), or pretend (“if we meet, analyze, and talk enough, somehow the decision will just happen”).
So what should you do with this? The solution is simple yet difficult to do – after counsel is sought, make the decision and correct it if it proves wrong!
Jay Desko is the Executive Director of The Center and serves on the Senior Leadership Team at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Jay brings experience in the areas of organizational assessment, leadership coaching, decision-making, and strategic questioning. Jay’s degrees include an M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Design from Pennsylvania State University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Leadership from The Union Institute.