Use This Trick to Make Better Decisions

Making decisions never gets easier.

It doesn’t matter whether you have a team of advisors, a staff of trusted confidants and a handy-dandy rubric from Pinterest because when the heat is on and you have to pick the best option, staying cool is the best route instead of getting crispy. But why is it getting hot in here?

Managers like you have to deal with the fiery symphony of personal traits, biases, financials, politics and the consequences, all which factor into confusing the process of choice. You may have had a moment that ushered a bad decision like these here:

  • Sitting on your hands too long and waiting for the decision to carry itself out
  • Trusting your gut and not even considering information at all
  • Leaping before looking (it doesn’t just apply to jumping into water)
  • Running away… because that’s just what a great leader does right?

The burden of a decision is heavy, especially if you feel like you have to pick a fork in the road. A cause of bad decisions is a lack of control.

There is a little trick—a blast from the past— you should employ right now to help you make better decisions.

Stop. Drop. Roll.

Yes, that. Sound familiar?

It is the fire safety maneuver we’re taught as kids to help put out a fire on your own body. Decision making can feel like you’re on fire because of the anxiety from feeling overwhelming heat and the need to act quickly and put it out. Let’s break down why this simple technique is the trick to making decisions.

  1. Stop to assess what is going on. The right choice is plain as day however with so many external and internal factors thrust upon you that it’s tough figuring out if your option is the right one.
  2. Drop everything that contradicts leading to the right (and best) conclusion. This can even mean letting go of internal biases, time consuming activities that have held you back from being a better leader.
  3. Roll around to smother the source of the flames charring your bum. You need to wrestle away the things that are getting in your way.

Now that you’re not on fire, you can make the decision ahead more clearly with a calm line of thought and you can do it on your terms. Select your path without pressure and hopefully without regret.


Denis Coleman

Denis Coleman is the founder and CEO of Work Compass, a cloud staff performance collaboration software platform that helps teams align their efforts with strategic goals and continuously improve performance. Frustrated with the disconnect between strategy setting and day to day execution and the lack of tools available to managers to help them be great at their most important function …. Aligning their teams activities with strategic goals and actively managing for high performance Denis spent over 5 years researching strategy execution and performance management practices before founding Work Compass to create a software solution. Denis has held senior roles in Ireland, Czech Republic and North America with high performing electronics manufacturing and professional services organisations for more than 12 years. Denis has worked as Finance Director responsible for €800 million in annual revenues for Flextronics International, Key Account Manager responsible for annual revenues of more than €600 million for Dovatron International and Management Consultant for BDO one of Europe’s most successful professional services providers.

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