7 Steps to Better Decisions
Whether we’re choosing gifts for the holidays or contemplating a new career path, there are seven important decision-making steps.
Every day, we make decisions — large and small — that have great consequences. The quality of these decisions depends on the quality of our information, our deliberation processes, and our degree of confidence in choosing the appropriate course.
As we can see in the video above, Curly of the Three Stooges needs to solve the problem of a leaking rowboat as Moe urges him to drain it before it sinks. But Curly instead decides to make another hole, thinking this will allow the water from the first hole to escape. He doesn’t realize he has created a bigger problem with his choice.
We can all laugh at Moe, Larry and Curly and the decision they made, but as leaders, we’re often guilty of doing the same. We think we’re solving a problem when we’re actually creating a bigger one, in part because we never have a true decision-making process. We follow protocols and procedures in many aspects of our lives, but when making decisions, we don’t really have a method to follow.
Here are seven steps Curly should’ve considered before making his decision.
But whether we’re choosing gifts for the holidays or contemplating a new career path, they’re equally relevant to us.
Step 1: Identify the problem
Curly needs to get the water out of the boat.
Step 2: Gather relevant information
Curly needs to determine how fast the water is coming into the boat, how much time is available and if there are any materials available to plug the leak.
Step 3: Identify the alternatives
Curly finds a “water letter outer,” which he feels will allow him to make another hole in the boat, thus allowing the water to escape.
Step 4: Weigh the evidence
Curly never weighs the evidence or thinks of the impact of the second hole.
Step 5: Choose among alternatives
Curly never looks for any alternatives — he chooses his first idea.
Step 6: Take action
He begins to drill the second hole.
Step 7: Review your decision & its consequences
The boat begins to sink and finally Curly realizes his decision was a poor one that’s created more issues.
Had Curly stopped and looked for alternatives, he would have found something better than drilling a second hole. But instead, he was in a hurry and took the simple solution, which turned out to do great harm.
As we close out 2021, let’s consider writing down our decision-making process. Let’s be sure we include these seven steps and always have more than one alternative at the ready.
Otherwise, the boat can easily sink.