How to Be a Decision Making Machine

Workshops and seminars offering skills in good decision making practices are springing up. In an era when anything that can go wrong likely will, crisis is around every corner. We are relentlessly pounded by the unforgiving forces of change. As a result, our decision making machinery is in overdrive. It is easy to misstep when our decisions must come ever more quickly and are subject to hyper-analysis by credible as well as non-credible sources.

The question becomes how to be prepared to make decisions on a continuous basis so that the automatic response even during crisis is “the right thing” to do. To make decisions without the accompanying panic is the key.

The ordinary decisions you make on a day to day basis can be made with a handful of guidelines. This will help you not only in day to day decision making but grease the skids during the crucible of crisis. With Mother Theresa on one end of a continuum of good decision making and Bernie Madoff on the other, most of us fall somewhere in the gray area in a world of growing complexity. Most of us consider ourselves ethical and we strive to “do the right thing.” Even the best of us can get off track with all that is swirling around us.

Some rules of solid decision making are the following:

1. Be Prepared.

Understand the world in which you and your organization operates.

2. Know your Purpose.

Know your role within the organization — we have a core Purpose both personally and professionally.

3. Plan appropriately.

Have systems in place that will provide support for appropriate answers.

4. Internalize the Perspective of leadership.

Keep your eye on the ball and constantly review your decisions — remember that just because others may skirt the rules is not reason why you or your staff should do the same.

5. Understand the humility factor.

None of us are perfect and some decisions will be better than others. Don’t underestimate the power of an apology or the need for continuous learning on how to make even better decisions each day.

Community College Consulting Decision Making

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