6 Questions to Ask Yourself When Making a Big Decision
By Katy Reid Posted August 19, 2021
There are many complicated decisions to be made at work. You may need to produce a few every month, week, or even every day. Consider asking yourself the following questions before making your next difficult decision.
What is the goal?
It's easy to get caught up with knowing the answers and knowing them quickly when making frequent decisions. Think all the way back to the beginning the next time you're faced with a few choices. What was the purpose of the project or task in the first place? What effect will this choice have on that objective? A constant reminder of your goals can assist you in avoiding making judgments that are mired in detail, don't serve the organization's mission, or are completely off track.
Is this critical or just an annoying issue?
Because a problem has unexpectedly arisen, certain decisions must be made. Maybe there's an issue with a coworker, a volunteer, an employee, or a business partner. When deciding what to say or do and how to say or do it, keep in mind that the conduct at hand may be unpleasant—but is it worth addressing? Even when something or someone annoys us, we don't have to deal with it right then and there.
Have I consulted with experts?
This may sound obvious, yet we all have instances when we forget to seek help or at the very least consult others. While it's reasonable and necessary to trust ourselves, there's no harm in bringing in other perspectives while making decisions. Talk to your mentor or an external colleague who might have been in similar situations.
How important is this decision in the grand scheme of things?
No decision is created equal. Some decisions have no bearing on the circumstance you're in at the time or on the day. It's not worth it to get worked up over them. So, before you worry over what you believe to be a difficult decision, consider how much it would actually influence your day-to-day existence and what the real stakes are.
What would I tell someone in my shoes?
Let's be honest: we're all better at making decisions for other people than we are at making decisions for ourselves. How many times have you thought to yourself, "I wouldn't do that if I were them," while you saw a coworker or acquaintance do something embarrassing?
When you advise someone else on their decisions, they feel less fatigued and rely less on decision shortcuts to make their choices. They're also less likely to be swayed by emotions or ego, which might seep into your decision-making process more than you'd like.
So, the next time you're stressed and unsure, take a step back and ask yourself, "How would I advise someone else in my situation to act?" Ideally, it would be best to think of someone who isn't too close to you and whose situation you can judge objectively. You might be surprised to learn that the solution is far more obvious than you believe.
What is the best possible outcome?
What isn't typically discussed when making a significant decision at work is what the best potential outcome will be if you make the option you're considering. For starters, it will address the issue you're having; otherwise, you wouldn't be thinking about it.
Although it isn't as often spoken, fear of success is equally as frequent as fear of failure. What else can you get out of this? Is it having a good ripple effect? Is it beneficial to you and your team? Is it going to take you in the direction you wish to go?
Because we don't always put off making a decision because we're frightened of the awful things that could happen—sometimes we're terrified of the wonderful things that might happen. In any case, take a moment to think about all of the great things that may happen when you make a choice.
In the end...
Making decisions in the workplace may be difficult, but learning to make excellent judgments in any scenario can help you advance in your career. You may more readily display your leadership qualities to others on your team if you can make difficult professional decisions with confidence. You may use some proactive strategies to assist you in making important professional decisions.
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