One of the most frustrating experiences we can all face is how to make effective decisions especially when you feel there is a lot of risk at stake. You wonder how much risk you should take on without putting yourself out on a limb or how much risk you share without looking like you are trying to pass accountability or be too cautious.
It is one of those situations that can make you feel like you are boiling in a pressure cooker that will explode as soon as the top is lifted off.
There are four distinct personality styles and they each approach decision making very differently. Because of this difference in style each personality style tends to cloud the decision making process with what is most important to them rather than what is most effective when making a decision.
THE FOUR STYLES: Strengths and weaknesses they bring to decision making
Connectors are very warm and friendly and usually hate conflict or pushy aggressive people. Most Connectors struggle with decision making and risk taking. The fear of messing up outweighs the desire to think logically.
If you are a Connector always make sure you have someone you can quickly run your ideas and thought process by BEFORE you present it to the final person. This will allow you to remove your caution and look at it more objectively.
Networkers are very gregarious and outgoing and have a tendency to look at the big picture while skipping over the details. Therefore, most Networkers will downplay or not seriously look at the risks that may happen. This often means they can get caught with too little information or unprepared to handle the consequences when something does go wrong.
If you are a Networker always make sure you run large decisions by another person and TELL them to ask you focused questions. This will help make sure you are prepared with EXACT answers before you share your decision with another person.
Producers are very bottom line oriented, abrupt and driven. Most Producers do a very good job of making effective decisions because it comes naturally to them to look at all risks, assume accountability, and offset any risks as best as possible. They usually have a slight gutsy side that allows them to take calculated risks after a relatively quick time of pondering them.
Analyzers are very exact, precise, and fact based. This means that most Analyzers will often become immobile when having to make decisions. They will tend to overlook at all the details and act too cautiously so they can be seen as constantly putting on the brakes rather than applying the gas.
If you are an Analyzer I recommend that you find someone and asking them to listen to your thought process on your decision and challenge you on details that you should let go of. You are looking for them to bump you up a level in how you view the situation.
FOUR STEPS THAT WORK: Regardless of what style you are the following steps will help you make more effective decisions.
1. Ask, "If we do this, what is the worst thing that can happen?"
a. How likely is it that will happen?
b. If it does happen, how can you handle it or can you do anything that will reduce the chance or eliminate it from happening?
2. Ask, "If we don't do this, what is the worst thing that can happen?" a. Can you afford to let that happen? b. Is the risk to you here GREATER than the above risk
3. Put together your thoughts in a logical manner. Use a Ben Franklin Formula with columns laying out the risks, mind map, or graph the pros/cons.
4. Decide which way you believe the company should go and why. Present it from that perspective. Share what risks you see with that choice as well as how you see they can be overcome or what chance there is that it will really happen and the CONSEQUENCES if it does happen.
Remember to try and come from your listener's perspective, not yours. The higher the executive level, the more that person is going to want straightforward information, bullet points and decisions from you. Know your details but don't flood them with them. Having them to back up and support what decision you made and why if you are challenged on it.
Remember that we all make mistakes. The most important thing is that you know when to jump and when to hold on so you can be most effective!