We all make decisions. Often, every day, several times a day even!
We decide on what we’re going to wear that day, what Netflix series we end our day with, and which sandwich we will have for lunch.
Obviously, life throws some more important decisions our way too.
You are in a relationship ? You might have to choose a place to live together, the best vacation destination, maybe even a marriage proposal, ...
Are you a parent? You will have to choose the children's school, the language of their education, their extra-curricular activities, ...
Are you an manager? You will have to make strategic choices for your company, choose to hire a particular profile, decide whether or not to take over this competing company, ...
To decide is to choose the best option among those available in order to achieve the desired objective.
Sometimes the best option seems simple and obvious to us. It didn't take more than 3 seconds for Sophie to decide to put on her sneakers to get to her gym class.
While some decisions will impose long hours or even days of reflection on us.
What makes a decision more or less easy to take?
The following will influence the degree of difficulty in making your decision:
- The impact your decision will have on your life (or the life of your company).
The greater the consequence, the more we tend to judge the decision to be serious, important, and potentially more difficult to take.
We will more easily decide to buy an inexpensive item than an expensive item since the latter will have a more serious impact on our budget.
- The duration of our decision.
The longer the duration to which our decision commits us, the more difficult the decision will seem.
We will think more about our choice of school for a child, which engages us over a long period, than on the choice of it’s extra-curricular activity, which can be more easily adapted.
- The complexity of the decision to be made.
The decision will be complex when it requires taking into account several aspects, many facets, which will influence each other.
Developing a commercial strategy will require taking into account operational, financial, legal, geographic elements, etc.
- The degree of uncertainty surrounding the decision making:
- The quality of the information we have.
The more information we have about the circumstances surrounding our decision making and its effects, the easier the decision will appear.
How to choose a car without knowing the technical characteristics that differentiate them?
- The time interval between the making of the decision and the effect of the decision.
The longer the time interval, the greater the uncertainty surrounding the effects of the decision. The probability that elements not taken into account at the time of the decision-making intervene and come to modify the situation will be greater.
If I decide today that I want to become a doctor and embark on long studies, I run the risk of no longer having this desire at the end of my studies, or that an external element (still unknown to this day) will prevent me exercising that job (government decisions, health problems, etc.).
As we can see, overall a decision will be easy to take if the consequences are certain or it does not have significant effects.
No one will have a hard time choosing a cake at their usual bakery once the information is known and sure, and the consequence is unimportant (even in the unfortunate hypothesis that our baker has exceptionally screwed up the recipe).
It will be more difficult to take when it has a large impact, is surrounded by uncertainties or requires several aspects to be taken into account.
Since the quality of our decisions determines the quality of our life, it is important to apply a methodology that ensures we make good decisions in all circumstances. We cover that in our next posts!