How To Make Tough Decisions.

“I don’t know what to do.”“I’m stuck, which way should I turn?” “I’m procrastinating because I don’t know what will bite me.”

This happens all the time to everyone at their workplace. EVERYONE.

Unfortunately, most people are paranoid of everything falling apart or failing IF they make a critical decision.

When I work with clients (who range from CEO’s to Solopreneurs), I help them understand there are only three scenarios:

  1. Things will get better. (sometimes much better)
  2. Things will stay the same.
  3. Things will get worse.
  4. Or the world will veer from it's axis and we will all die. ;)

I usually comment: If you then make a decision and you use my model, 2 of the 3 are either good or average. One is bad.

I don’t know about you, but I like the odds.

Most people focus on the bad (or worse). All the time.

To increase your chances of hitting the upper end of the curve or lessening the lower end, try to mitigate certain unknowns.

Here’s a typical example:

Apple is launching a new iPad into the marketplace in the next few weeks. (Yea!)

  1. It either will be a hit and sell more than the iPad 1.
  2. It will match the sales of the iPad 1.
  3. Due to increase competition, or other factors, it will sell less than the iPad 1.

Now Steve Jobs, Jonathan Ive and a host of other Apple troops are out in force mitigating the last scenario.

They’ve done their market testing. They’ve surveyed the marketplace.
They’ve got info on their competition and a host of other mitigating behaviors. They’ve done their homework.

Most of the time, your homework is to sit down and clearly think about the results of your decision. Understand most (not all) of the permutations - what might happen. And develop alternatives if things go awry. But also think about the positive and average scenarios too. Doing this will make it easier.

And then make the decision. "Lose your sleep before your decision, not after it."

What hard decisions do you have to make? Does this model work for you?

Image provided by katietower at Flickr.