1. Self-Awareness

1.3.3 Decision-Making Skills

Q&AAnswers to the Questions

How did you score? Use the table below to mark your current decision-making skills:

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What Your Score Means

Your decision-making hasn't fully matured. You aren't objective enough, and you rely too much on luck, instinct or timing to make reliable decisions. Start to improve your decision-making skills by focusing more on the process that leads to the decision, rather than on the decision itself. With a solid process, you can face any decision with confidence. We'll show you how.

43 - 66
Your decision-making process is OK. You have a good understanding of the basics, but now you need to improve your process and be more proactive. Concentrate on finding lots of options and discovering as many risks and consequences as you can. The better your analysis, the better your decision will be in the long term. Focus specifically on the areas where you lost points, and develop a system that will work for you across a wide variety of situations.

67 - 90
You have an excellent approach to decision-making! You know how to set up the process and generate lots of potential solutions. From there, you analyze the options carefully, and you make the best decisions possible based on what you know. As you gain more and more experience, use that information to evaluate your decisions, and continue to build on your decision-making success. Think about the areas where you lost points, and decide how you can include those areas in your process.

As you were answering the questions, did you notice some themes? This quiz is based on MindTools’ six essential steps in the decision-making process:

  1. Establishing a positive decision-making environment.
  2. Generating potential solutions.
  3. Evaluating the solutions.
  4. Deciding.
  5. Checking the decision.
  6. Communicating and implementing.

Improve Your Decision-Making Skills

The good news is that you can improve your ability to make effective decisions – even with uncertainty and pressure in the mix. As with all other skills, the more positive decisions you make, the better you will become with using the right tools and strategies. This will improve your confidence in your decision-making skills, and so the upward spiral to success begins.

Use the Dux 3-Questions to grow and improve:

  1. What am I doing well? Do more of that?
  2. What am I not doing well? Use the quiz results to identify areas that need some work.
  3. What will I do better next time? Use the info below:

“1. Establishing a Positive Decision-Making Environment

(Questions 3, 7, 13, 16)

How much time should you spend mulling over a potential decision? Ten seconds? Ten minutes? Ten hours or more? It all depends on what’s at stake. To minimize agonizing indecision, determine the significance of a decision (How great of an impact will it have on my life? How much will it cost me?), and set a deadline accordingly.

If it’s something as simple as deciding where to go for lunch or what to watch on TV, remember to keep things in perspective and keep your timeframe for decisions to a minimum. This is closely tied with evaluating the significance of a decision — if it won’t affect you or others in a significant way, then don’t waste time endlessly debating between your options.

When you have a group decision to make, it’s best to decide the details well in advance in order to avoid conflict amongst group members immediately prior to the event. This could be used for movie nights or dinner parties; while it dampers the spontaneity of plans, it improves the decision-making skills of everyone involved and decreases the likelihood of bickering amongst the group.

2. Generating Potential Solutions

(Questions 4, 8, 11)

Before you can begin to make a decision, you need to make sure that you fully understand your situation. Start by considering the decision in the context of the problem it is intended to address. To find out if the stated problem is the real issue, or just a symptom of something deeper, ask yourself “why?” over and over (five times) to get to the root of the problem.

3. Evaluating Alternatives

(Questions 1, 6, 15)

This may seem obvious, but when it comes to making major decisions — new cell phone or laptop, car brand, etc. — putting in the time and effort to fully inform yourself about your impending purchase can mean the difference between product satisfaction and relentless frustration.

It’s more than just researching the facts and logistics of a decision — getting a personal opinion can also improve your decision-making by giving you the confidence and reassurance that you’re making the right decision. Whether it’s asking your auto mechanic friend about a car purchase or checking Consumer Reports before buying a new kitchen appliance, informed opinions are quite helpful.

4. Deciding

(Questions 5, 10, 17)

To simplify the cost-benefit analyzing, limit yourself to fewer options. The more choices are presented to us, the greater the difficulty in making a final decision. More choices can lead to more regret because we consider all of the missed possibilities and worry whether we could have chosen one of the many other routes that were available. As such, narrowing your options will lead to greater peace of mind.

Then it’s important to weigh the pros and the cons to ensure that you’re making the best decision possible. This requires a cost-benefit analysis, in which you examine the outcome to every possible route (both positive and negative). This will help you see the opportunity costs, or the things you miss out on when one decision is preferred over another.

5. Checking the Decision

(Questions 2, 9)

With all the effort and hard work you’ve already invested in evaluating and selecting alternatives, it can be tempting to forge ahead at this stage. But now, more than ever, is the time to "sense check" your decision. After all, hindsight is great for identifying why things have gone wrong, but it's far better to prevent mistakes from happening in the first place!

Before you start to implement your decision, take a long, dispassionate look at it to be sure that you have been thorough.

6. Communicating and Implementing

(Questions 12, 14, 18)

Once you've made your decision, you need to communicate it to everyone affected by it in an engaging and inspiring way. Get them involved in implementing the solution by discussing how and why you arrived at your decision. The more information you provide about risks and projected benefits, the more likely people will be to support your decision.

If people point out a flaw in your process as a result, have the humility to welcome their input and review your plans appropriately – it’s much better to do this now, cheaply, than having to do it expensively (and embarrassingly) if your plans have failed.

Note: Making decisions with a group seems to complicate decision-making. Multiple parties increase the chance of conflict, so to prepare yourself for these situations, it’s always useful to practice conflict management. Identify the difference between a win-lose situation (such as compromises where one side gives up what they want to please another) and win-win situations (such as accommodation, when the two parties agree to give up some things in order to agree on other things).

The greatest impediment to good decision-making is beating up on yourself for past mistakes. Living with post-decision angst and regret hurts your ability to decide on things swiftly and efficiently in the future, so instead of dwelling on errors and failures, make a decision and don’t look back once you’ve followed through.”

This has been adapted from MindTools.com

Dux with a Golden CupWhat's Next?

Well done! You have completed the Self-Awareness module of Emotional Intelligence.
Next up: Self-Regulation.

1.3.3 Making Sound Decisions (Prev Lesson)
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