I thought it was perfectly fitting that I was asked to write a blog entry on “Healthy Decision Making” given how I sometimes struggle with making decisions!
In looking back on my big life decisions, the majority of them have been thoughtful and reflective in nature. My process is arduous by many people’s standards because I feel compelled to do my due diligence. I usually consult with people to get their opinions about what I ought to do, conduct a cost-benefit analysis, do a risk assessment, and evaluate whether it is a decision that is opportunity-driven or if the decision is driving an opportunity for me.
Once I make my decision, I review it and let it sit for a while, making sure it resonates and is aligned with my core values. Then, I ask myself if I think I will have any regrets about my decision. Once the final decision is made, I jump in whole heartedly with gusto and enthusiasm! Why? Because I know I’ve made an informed decision and in my world, that is a healthy way to make a decision.
As hard as it can be at times to make decisions about my personal well-being, it can be even harder when making decisions in a work setting. There are so many additional considerations: who has the authority to make the decision, does every person’s vote carry the same weight, what is the decision-making process, and who is ultimately accountable for the outcome of the decision?
As an organizational development consultant, when I work with compromised teams it’s not unusual for “decision making” to be identified as an area of concern. Often times it is because there is a great deal of ambiguity around the decision-making process itself. People generally want to have a “voice” in this process. They want their opinion to be taken into consideration. It’s important for employees to have a venue for providing input. Even if a person’s idea or suggestion isn’t implemented, they can take comfort in the fact that an “informed” decision was made because they had the opportunity to provide input and information from their perspective and experience.
So, when it comes to healthy decision making in your work environment, check to see if the decision-making process is clear. Identify who has the authority and accountability to make specific decisions. Not every decision is best suited by coming to consensus or a majority vote. Be clear on what the appropriate venue is for specific decisions. Gather the relevant information so that you can consider the impact on the team and the work environment.
At the end of the day, if you’ve done your due diligence, you can rest assured that you’ve made an informed decision. From my perspective, that’s the healthiest way to make a decision – you can always decide if you need to recalibrate your decision at some point later on!
Marcia Kent, MA