The Most Important Step in Making a Decision
Do you know the five steps to making a decision? A month ago, I didn't even know there were five steps to making a decision. Thanks to homeschooling my fifth-grader, I'm now educated. Sadly, I realize there's one step I too often skip. My guess is it's one that many of us skip.
Unfortunately, it's the most important step -- the one that keeps us from repeating mistakes.
Step One: Set Goals
You can't make a good decision if you don't know the results you want to achieve.
Step Two: Identify Options
Identify all of the possible options that could lead to meeting your goals.
Step Three: Gather Information/Consider Choices
Collect information about your options. Be careful to collect facts, not opinions. Use the facts to form your own opinion regarding the pros and cons of each choice. How does each option relate to your goals?
Step Four: Make a Decision
Looking at the pros and cons, decide which option gets you closest to your goals. When considering the immediate and future consequences of each option, you may find you need to reevaluate your goals.
Step Five: Evaluate Your Decision
Is the outcome of your decision what you expected? The day after your decision, look at what happened. Then look again in a week, a month, a year. Evaluate the results of your decision. Did you meet your goal or did something go wrong?
The decision-making process doesn't stop with the decision. In order to make wise decisions in the future, we must continue to evaluate the impact of our decision long after we make it. This is a simple truth, but I confess I fall short.
Once a decision is made, I move on rather than actively evaluating the effectiveness of my decision. That's likely why I see cycles repeating in my life. Insanity, "they" say, is doing the same thing but expecting a different result. If I objectively evaluate the results of my actions, I can probably stop the insanity by making different -- better -- decisions next time.
What do you find to be the most difficult step in decision-making?
* Decision-making steps taken from Skills Handbook Using Social Studies, Level 5 (SRA/McGraw-Hill, 2002)