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3 Simple Ways To Make Better Business Decisions

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decision making

Business owners and managers always rely on making the right decisions, in terms of following trends and bringing innovative ways to make their business more successful.

But dealing with the process of making decisions and making the right choices, with risks of failure and success factors on the way, is seldom an easy task. Many professionals have problems connected to insecurity and not enough intel to deem confidence and take properly balanced risks when coming up with a decision.

While no one can establish a clear view on the definite outcomes of a decision, one must think ahead in terms of considering the possible ones, and make a quality risk assessments before implementing any decisions.

Decision making guidance serves a linear process compiled of few stages, among which the basic steps are:

  1. Identify the problem
  2. Generate alternative solutions
  3. Evaluate and choose among alternative solutions
  4. Implement and monitor the chosen solution

But if you consider the decision making process as a linear one, you cannot just stop at the steps above and wonder how to go through with each, without considering a methodology for the decision making.

Here are three simple methods that can provide you with guidance when making a decision:

1. Make a pros and cons sheet

The first way to go through the decision making and elaborate alternatives and outcomes is through the use of a balance sheet. This technique is very useful in problem solving, and I guess decision making and problem solving are interconnected, as they both need to reach an outcome.

What you do is take a simple pen and paper, and draw a line on the middle, making one side free for pros and other for cons. You elaborate why a certain alternative is better or has smaller risks, in comparison to the others, for which you have also made assumptions about. This balance sheet method is a very practical one, and relies on documenting facts and assumptions, and though it may seem too subjective, is a valuable method to support the decision making process.

“As a bull market turns into a bear market, the new pros turn into optimists, hoping and praying the bear market will become a bull and save them. But as the market remains bearish, the optimists become pessimists, quit the profession, and return to their day jobs. This is when the real professional investors re-enter the market.” – Robert Kiyosaki

2. Use the technique six thinking hats

Another decision making methodology is the use of a very stimulating technique, that is called Six Thinking Hats. You can see the more visual interpretation of its description in the mind map below.

The six thinking hats technique, encompasses a way to introduce six ways to look at things: facts, feelings, process, creativity, benefits and cautions, and they are all represented by six different colors for a more stimulating effect.

While “wearing” each hat, the person looks at the decision from different perspectives, giving a variety in the choosing, but a way to stimulate the risk assessment and the scores of possible outcomes.

The white hat is the objective view on the situation and relies only on facts, data and figures, without considering subjective thinking or emotions. The blue hat signifies control of the process and is used to manage the thinking process by observing guidelines of the process.

The red hat marks feelings and relies on intuition, and places emotions without explanation. The green hat is focused on creativity and freshness of ideas and induces lateral thinking. The yellow hat symbolizes the optimistic side of looking onto outcomes and explores the positive values and benefits of the situation. The black hat is the critical thinking hat where the risks and negative sides are being considered.

3. Mind mapping

I am a fan of new concepts and frequently incorporate another famous technique into the decision making process, called mind mapping.

Mind mapping is a visual technique to organize ideas and information. The product of mind mapping is called a mind map and is nothing else that a specific diagram, representing a central topic branching out to subtopics that elaborate the central subject, in this case a problem or a decision to be made. This tool is used to generate, visualize and structure ideas and aids decision making and problem solving, by being able to see the big picture.

“Many think of memory as rote learning, a linear stuffing of the brain with facts, where understanding is irrelevant. When you teach it properly, with imagination and association, understanding becomes a part of it.” – Tony Buzan

Since we cannot surmise all advices or tips to take into account when delivering any decision, or when you go through the decision making process, but you can take into account some of the following:

  • Make sure you are sufficiently informed and put aside any conflicts of interest;
  • Value information and document it in any form as evidence;
  • Take account of all relevant factors and ignore any irrelevant ones;
  • Always think through actions that are within your powers and try to act upon them;
  • And last but not least – make decisions that are within your range.

How do you make important decisions? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Joel Roberts is an entrepreneur and a project manager with more than 12 years of experience, working with Seavus Project Viewer – a standalone viewer for team members who need to view and analyze project plans. Passionate about ideas and innovation management, she uses mind mapping software on a daily basis to organize, plan and improve her work. Her articles have been featured in more than a dozen project management and business websites. You can follow her on LinkedIn.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Tim Denning

    May 7, 2016 at 7:08 am

    Joel I have found mind mapping really good for making business decisions. I use an ipad app called ithoughts which is a good tool to use for this exercise.

  2. Avatar

    Chris Thompson

    Mar 4, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    Great points Joel! These are really good tips indeed! I’m gonna apply your tips. Thanks for sharing an informative article. I will recommend this.

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5 Things You Can Learn From The 5am Club by Robin Sharma

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

In this book, there is a mention of ‘a ferocious global sleep recession’, which is intriguing and enlightening. It hints at the state of sleep deprivation that this world is sinking into gradually. We often associate success and hard work with the notion of staying up all night and testing our endurance beyond limits. But that is not the right approach to accomplishing success, or rather, it is a flawed methodology.

Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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