Deciding Slow, Acting Quick

When it comes to decision making I believe in deciding slow but acting quick.

Once a decision has been made, there’s no point waiting around and hesitating, you might as well move fast from that point onwards.

However, the lead up to that point it’s important to:

  1. Gather information
  2. Consult people around you
  3. Weigh up the facts
  4. Weigh the benefits of making the decision
  5. Weigh what the potential downsides (and more importantly their potential impact) could be
  6. What does your gut say?

This is roughly the process I use not only every day in business but also in my personal life.

I’ve been called slow to make a decision based on this, but a fast actor.

Why I Spend So Much Time Deciding

Decisions are forks in the road.

While I don’t spend heaps of time deciding on every single decision, on the important decisions I do spend a bit more time than usual. I don’t like being impulsive when it comes to important decisions.

For important things, taking the time to weight decisions using the 6 factors above help me not only make the decision but also to commit to it and know that it was the right path for me.

I have made decisions in the past based on gut alone and have had occasions where I’ve regretted the decision and beat myself up for not taking the extra time to decide, or worse, back peddled on the decision (which just makes you look like an ass).

Do You Need To Write It Down?

If you read books about this stuff you’ll often come across complicated decision-making frameworks or flow charts or principles.

While I think there’s huge value (in principles especially), I don’t tend to write down my decision making unless I’m facing something extremely complex.

I can run through the above 6 in my head or when talking with people and now that it’s part of my internal decision making framework it’s pretty much unconscious.

That’s not to say I’m perfect or have perfect decision making abilities. Far from it.

And I don’t do every single one of the 6 above every time.

But if I think of it or I notice I’m hesitating or mulling over an important decision I’ll take the time to run through it with myself and others.

Other People’s Opinions

I’ve spent the last 6 or 7 years trying to surround myself with people smarter than me in one field or another.

For example, I’m a pretty decent programmer (I think) but I’m not the smartest programmer I know and I’m OK with that. It’s actually by design.

By surrounding myself with smart people I get to have an audience of opinions that are going to be top quality for each field.

Additionally, smart people are generally smart in many adjoining areas too (or smarter than the average) so I get to draw on that knowledge and wisdom.

Acting Fast

Once I’ve made a decision I tend to strike while the iron is hot.

I don’t see any reason to further delay and continue to mull over things, that just leads to procrastination.

Procrastination is the killer of dreams. You’ll end up being stuck in a loop with nothing ever changing.

So to sum up, and if you agree with the sentiment of this article, try to decide carefully using the 6 factors I outlined:

  1. Gather information
  2. Consult people around you
  3. Weigh up the facts
  4. Weigh the benefits of making the decision
  5. Weigh what the potential downsides (and more importantly their potential impact) could be
  6. What does your gut say?

Once you’ve done this and you come to a choice, make your decision count and take action right away.

Even if you can’t take 100% of the action required, do something immediately.

That might be sending an email, Skyping someone, designing some rough mock up, signing up for something, submitting a form, etc. Whatever it is, do that small action right away so that you are set into motion.

Josh Kohlbach

Josh is a software entrepreneur from Brisbane, Australia. He spends most of his time helping e-commerce store owners. This is his personal blog where he shares his thoughts and other tidbits on online business and life in general.

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