The Secrets to Smarter Decision Making (About Anything)


31 March, 2018

#WhyShaiWhy [Videos] Develop Professional Skills Management

What do Saturday morning brunch, buying a new car, and that huge project at work have in common?

They all involve some serious decision making!

Why is it that we have so many decisions to make but spend so little time thinking about the way we make them? Here are 3 (+1 ) tips on what you should think about before making any decisions (about anything).

1. Use data wherever possible

Recently, one of our developers was worried that our app’s “Forgot my password” feature was too cumbersome. The user had to take too many steps to recover their access. We agreed that it was something to improve.

Until we saw the app’s analytics data.

We found that in the last three months, only 12 people forgot their password. And 11 of them swam right through the process, successfully resetting their passwords within a few minutes.  That’s 11 out of 12, in three months. The data showed us clearly that we don’t have to–at least, straightaway–invest time to fix this thing.

2. Look inside yourself: your experiences give you bias

In your last job, you probably used certain tools that worked really well for you.

When you came across similar situations in your current job, what popped into mind? You bet – those exact same tools you used to use!

And when your colleague asked for a suggestion for the same problem, what did you say…?

We all have biases.

Our previous experiences shape our inclinations toward things. Biases are just like preferences, but stronger. That’s why they are considered unfair.

In this situation, you have to ask yourself why you are strongly leaning on to this one thing. Be analytical about it so you can open yourself to other options and impartially weigh each one before coming up with a decision.

3. Beware of Executive Dilemma and First Solution Syndrome

Executive Dilemma

Executive dilemma is commonly covered in MBA – it’s that important to understand!

Fundamentally, it’s when you have a previous decision support the current one.

Example: you just spent a good amount of money developing a certain feature that’s not in production yet. You still don’t know if it is working well or not, but you already found a huge flaw. If you think that you actually have to invest more for this, that’s executive dilemma.

First Solution Syndrome

First solution syndrome is common and straightforward: it’s thinking that the first solution you come up with is the best solution. We tend to do this a lot, especially in this busy day and age. We want to fix a problem and immediately move on to the next.

Stop. Think about long-term solutions as well. Think of multiple solutions. There is no hurrying smart decision making.

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