Learn from Experiences

How well do you handle making difficult judgments? Find out by taking this assessment to gauge your decision-making skills. Then, use the tips in this step-by-step guide to help walk you through an organized approach to decision-making. Bookmark this tool and come back to it the next time you need to make a complex decision.

Even the best decision makers can benefit from examining the issues from multiple perspectives to help overcome biases. Pick a decision or problem in your current role. Try on the Six Thinking Hats to shake up the way you think – it will encourage you to be creative, thinking rationally and emotionally, and to explore negatives and positives in a broad framework.

Sleep on it – before making a big decision remove yourself from the thinking, especially if emotions are involved. Approach the decision in the morning with a fresh perspective. Reflection can be an excellent tool for learning, development, and growth in decision-making.

Know your biases and check your assumptions. Listen to learn rather than confirm your biases. If you always rely on the same individuals to assist with problems and support your decisions, broaden your network and proactively consult with others whose opinions and backgrounds are different from yours to get their input to your decisions. Getting out of your comfort zone and soliciting feedback from others may improve the quality of your decisions.

Improve your judgment by reviewing and fixing a failed project, performance area, or task. Actively think through the following: What are the root causes of the failure? What information needs to be gathered to find a better solution? What lessons learned would inform future decisions?

Learn from Others

Identify two or three important job-related decisions that you have made in the past year. Proactively ask your manager to assess the quality of these decisions and give you feedback about your decision-making strengths and areas for improvement.

Find a trusted peer to help you evaluate your thinking and strategies. Has your team done True Colors? Find someone who scored high in green to help you – think out loud and see how they view the issue. It is possible they will see a connection or a need you missed.

You need to let people weigh in to get buy-in for your decisions. Have you engaged your stakeholders and listened to others who are familiar with the issue? Watch this short video to understand the difference between listening to different viewpoints and consensus, and include feedback from key stakeholders as a necessary step in your decision making.

When a colleague makes an interesting decision, ask them to walk you through their thought process. Did they consider anything you did not think about? Did they approach the situation differently than you might have?