It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters most is getting off the fence. You cannot make progress without making decisions. ~Jim Rohn
Of all attributes of leadership, the one thing that leaders do more often than anything else is make decisions. Harry Truman once said, “The buck stops here.” This ultimately applies to every leader. You’re in charge, and after all is said and done, you will be judged by the decisions you make.
Analysis paralysis is where you can’t take any action due to over thinking about the details or over planning and is one of the best “action” killers we can possibly find. Planning definitely helps when you are starting a new project but it should not be to the extent that it overwhelms us and causes us to fail to make a decision and take action.
Vision and Goals
If art is to nourish the root of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow his vision wherever it takes him ~ John F. Kennedy
The best way to improve your decision making ability is to keep focused on the vision and goals that you want to accomplish. We know that things happen and plans change. Stop worrying about making perfect decisions. Stay committed to your vision and goals is the most important aspect of decision making.
Did you know that when pilots fly across the ocean, they reach something called, “the point of no return?” This is the point over the ocean where the combination of the fuel they have on board, the weather conditions, the condition of the aircraft, and other factors that play a role are such that continuing toward a destination is easier than turning back.
This same principle should apply to you when making decisions. Seize the moment. Be decisive in all you do. This is what successful leaders do. They make decisions.
During my tenure as a Police Officer, I was called upon hundreds if not thousands of times to make quick and accurate decisions. It could have been responding to a burglary in progress. Do I respond surreptitiously, potentially causing a traffic accident or do I respond with lights and sirens on risking giving myself away to the perpetrators on scene. The decision I made at the time was to use lights and siren, intermittently so I make it through traffic safely. Upon arriving on scene, do I direct Officers responding to certain locations around the perimeter of the property or do I have them take up positions at nearby intersections with hope of intercepting the perpetrators leaving the scene. The decisions I made could have potentially put Officer Safety in jeopardy. My point is, that making decisive decisions is the most important thing we do as leaders.
Making a decision and having it turn out to be the wrong one, is still better than making no decision at all.
Here are some of the top tips I have used in helping me make quick and accurate decisions:
1) Experience Counts
Experience plays a vital role in decision making. As you grow, so does your experience and knowledge. I believe life experience is the best teacher. There will be a time when you will encounter something similar or know someone that has experienced the same thing.
2) Preparation, Planning and Mentorship
Being prepared and having a plan is also vital to decision making. Ben Franklin once said, “Failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Do your homework, read and study the topic, talk with people that have been in your shoes or have made similar decisions. Seek advice from someone you trust with all your heart. If you have no one in your life that you can go to, seek out a mentor to help and guide you in the right direction. Follow your passion, vision and goals.
3) Go with Your Gut (Inner-Voice)
Use your common sense, intuition and instinct to make quick and accurate decisions. Your gut is 100% right all the time. Take it from someone that has used his gut to make life and death decisions. Your inner-voice will let you know when that something feels right or wrong. When you get that feeling, move in that direction. Do not procrastinate. Be decisive, articulate and seize the moment.
I’m John R. Salkowski, Founder of AchieveSuccessAcademy.com, Entrepreneur, Author, and Speaker on Leadership, Success and Overcoming Adversity. Retired Police Officer, Survivor of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) stemming from a shoot and kill robbery incident.
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