Decisions, decisions!

Decisions are a big part of life, yet they are not always easy.

As you probably already know, as manager, a vital skill that you must have locked down is your ability to make good decisions.

No pressure right?

The good news is that making good decisions is a method that you can learn.

And it really just boils down to a few steps:

  • Knowing your goal
  • Gathering information
  • Considering the consequences
  • Making your decision
  • Evaluate your decision

It is really that simple. However, there are always other variables at play that can make this difficult.

A couple weeks ago within my New Manager Accelerator Program, one of my students asked a really great question about decision making.

She wanted to know if there was a formula she could follow for making quick decisions with limited information.

It was such a great question because the truth is that sometimes we are forced into a situation where we do have to make quick decisions and on top of that sometimes we don’t have all the information!

During the Q&A session I dove into a formula I learned and would run things through every single time there was a situation where I needed to move ahead quickly but didn’t have time, nor the ability to gather all the information.

In today’s episode of MakTV, I’d like to share with you what I shared with my students.

I’ll be sharing this 3 step process and trust me it’s a good one!

After watching I promise you’ll feel that much more confident about making decisions quickly, even when you don’t have all the info.


Would you prefer to read rather than watch? Not to worry! You can read the blog post below.

But first, to really help you stand out in your new role I highly recommend downloading the New Manager Starter Kit. A free downloadable interactive guide to help you show up and stand out and take the right action steps.


Decisions, decisions!

There was a study done at Cornell that found that you actually make over 200 decisions a day just related to what you’re going to eat or drink! No wonder so many of us are burnt out from making decisions.

As a manager however, your ability to make decisions is extremely important. Sometimes though you will be asked to make decisions when you don’t have all the information! And this can be really hard.

You have to be willing to accept risk

Here’s the thing about quick decision making. It is really at the core about your ability to accept risk.

That’s why decision making in general is a process that involves research, and maybe even talking to someone that either has experience or has experienced whatever it is you want to make a decision on so that you can mitigate the risk.

So if you want to be making quick decisions with less and less information than what you really have to be okay with is accepting more and more risk.

The best advice I’ve ever gotten when it comes to decision making and risk comes straight out of the book The Road Less Stupid By Keith Cunningham whom I’ve mentioned on my channel here before.

He asserts in the book that risk is about the future so you can’t really eliminate risk but what you can do is reduce it by thinking about what could go wrong so that you can increase the odds of creating something that will go right.

This is such a simple statement that could be applied to whenever you have to make a decision but particularly when you don’t necessarily have all the information you need and need to make it quickly.

Here is a simple three step process from his book that you can use for making decisions when you are presented with a limited amount of information.

You want to always ask yourself – what’s the upside, what’s the downside and can I live with the downside?

What’s the upside?

So essentially what good is going to happen if you make this decision?

Generally speaking depending on the decision of course, this should come rather easy as we usually want to see the good in a step that we want to take.


What’s the downside?

The downside is basically the risks associated with making the decision.

You want to think of this like your pre-mortem. So we are all familiar with postmortem which is analyzing after the fact what has happened.

Well what you want to do is force your brain to think about what could go wrong beforehand and then estimate the probability of that risk playing itself out.

So let me give you an example of what I mean.

Let’s say that I wanted to make a decision on whether or not we as a team try to automate more of our manual processes.

Before making the choice to jump into every automation tool there is, I would want to consider the downsides to making that choice.

In this situation realistically speaking technology itself can sometimes be a downside because , sometimes technology as amazing as it is could also be the biggest pain in the rear.

Because of this, I might decide that the probability of technology being a risk is low, about 10%.

By simply asking yourself this question you are forcing the issue to the forefront and carefully considering the probability of issues.

Can I live with the downside?

Now once those issues are brought to the forefront you want to run it through the last question which is can I live with the downside.

So take your highest probability issues and ask yourself is this going to be manageable for you to handle or not?

Running your decision through that three step process, really just helps clarify whatever you need to know and understand before making a decision.

In addition to that three step process I highly recommend a decision journal.

You can create for yourself a template within the journal with simply those three q’s and run each decision through it.

I am a big believer in writing things down as it forces your thoughts to another level of process that brings you clarity.

Getting a decision journal will also help you to track the way you are making decisions so that you can reflect and see any trends and gaps that you have in your decision making process so that you can get better at it!