It is hard to understate the importance of championing decision-making. Making the right choice is basically the difference between winning and losing, being happy or being miserable and reaching your goals or getting lost.
- The “BLOC” that Blocks Good Decisions: Being Too Emotional, Lack of Energy, Overconfidence, and Cluelessness.
- Is the Decision Aligned with Your Objectives?
- No Time? Trust Your Hunch – Aka the Blindfolded Coin Toss
- The Quick Decision Model
Decision-making is an activity that’s done every day, consistently throughout the day. Often it can be done rather easily, especially when the decision has low consequences, or when one option is clearly better than the other.
There are countless decision-making models, and choosing between them needs a decision model in and of itself.
In this article, we will describe a “quick decision” model which is based on several existing decision making models.
The “BLOC” that Blocks Good Decisions: Being Too Emotional, Lack of Energy, Overconfidence, and Cluelessness.
One of the easiest ways to make a bad decision is by letting emotion, fatigue, lack of data, or ego to decide for you. We will briefly describe each one of these factors.
Being Too Emotional
Emotions are important no doubt. They color our life, are crucial for being able to live in a society, and also helping us to make decisions; often good ones.
But sometimes we let our emotions take the wheel for us, especially when strong feelings like love, anger, greed and jealousy are involved. The consequence can be bad decisions that could easily be avoided if made in a less emotional state.
Here’s a tip to know if you are influenced by emotion. This tip works only if you speak a second language that is not your mother tongue.
Your emotions are triggered more easily from words in your mother tongue. Formulate the dilemma in a different language and see if things look different, If the answer is yes, then you are influenced by your emotions.
Lack of Energy
Very often in difficult negotiations, the opponents are playing the exhaustion game. The negotiation lasts for hours until one of the sides is clearly more exhausted than the other and consequently makes concessions that wouldn’t be made if he was fresh and full of energy.
Decisions require thinking, and thinking requires energy.
Hubris (or arrogance) was the sin of many heroes and leaders. When one has a lot of experience, he is often blinded by his ego and consequently too proud to doubt his thoughts and assumptions.
Being overconfident is the highway to make a bad call. It can be easily avoided by playing the devil’s advocate and asking yourself where I might be wrong.
Every man prefers belief to the exercise of judgement. —The Greek Philosopher Seneca
Fact-based judgement requires investigation, collection of data and analysis. Making quick decisions based upon a belief or a heuristic attitude is much easier, but often ends up with making a bad decision.
Is the Decision Aligned with Your Objectives?
Everyone should be familiar with his personal goals. In order to achieve our goals, we need to set objectives which are smaller goals that lead to the main goal.
While we have many decisions to make every day, many of them are not aligned with our goals and objectives.
We have limited time and limited energy which prevent us from making only the right decisions. One way to filter the number of dilemmas is by asking ourselves “is this decision related to what I want to achieve?”, and if the answer is no, maybe avoid investing resources in it.
No Time? Trust Your Hunch – Aka the Blindfolded Coin Toss
Often, we need to make a quick decision and we don’t have enough time to gather the data.
In this case we need to trust our hunch. Studies show that hunch-based decisions can be good enough.
So how do we listen to our hunch? A common trick is to toss a coin and think on which side we want it to land. You don’t really need to see on which side it landed because you already have the answer to what your hunch is.
The Quick Decision Model
The quick decision model is based on the different principles above and is meant to help in a situation where you think you need to take a certain action but not sure whether to take it or not.
For example, someone is saying something and you want to tell him he is wrong. At the same time you are worried you might hurt his feelings and/ or ego. The dilemma is whether to correct him or not.
|Action Aligned with Objectives||Action Does Not Aligned with Objectives|
|BLOC’ed||Coin Toss||Don’t Take an Action|
|Not BLOC’ed||Take an Action||Coin Toss|
Step 1: Verify if You Are Being BLOC’ed
- Are you in an emotional state? (Rephrase your dilemma in a second language)
- Are you tired?
- Are you guided by a belief or by data-based information?
- Be the devil’s advocate and ask yourself where might you be wrong? Still certain?
After answering these questions you’ll know if you are being BLOC’ed. If you are that is fine, the goal of this step is to be aware of your situation.
Step 2: Evaluate the Dilemma: Is It Aligned with Your Objectives?
Remember, you have to choose your wins, not all decisions are equally important. Classify the dilemma according to its importance.
Step 3: Making the Decision
If you are not BLOC’ed and the decision is aligned with your objectives, then trust your decision and take the action.
If you are BLOC’ed and the decision is not aligned with your objectives, avoid taking an action.
If you are BLOC’ed and the decision aligned with your objectives, or if you are not BLOC’ed and the decision isn’t aligned with your objectives, then make a “blindfolded coin toss” and trust your hunch whether to take the action or not.