Better Decision Making  What Makes A Decision A Good DecisionBetter Decision Making What Makes A Decision A Good Decision

Part 2 of a series: After flying in an airplane, what makes a good landing? The answer is any landing you can walk away from ? right? Well, a really good decision is a bit harder to define, however like the landing you will know it when you see it.

First let's discuss the impact of a BAD decision. A bad decision is one that results in lost money, lost time, lost opportunities, lost resources, or even simply in hurt feelings. Any or all of these losses can manifest themselves into something called ?buyer's remorse?. You've probably heard of the term buyer's remorse in courses or training on how the mind works. The example often shared is the purchase of a car. Once you buy your new car, your mind cannot help but see every car like yours on the road. This is your mind's way of validated itself to you ? saying you made the right decision.

Unfortunately you may not have made the best decision. This is something you may realize every time your luggage won't fit in the trunk, or how your car slips on wet pavement when you're driving a bit fast. In these terms, buyer's remorse is the recognition and knowledge that No, you didn't make a good decision. It's the understanding that in the car example that not only have you made a bad choice; you have to live with it for four more years. Now 'that's? buyer's remorse.

So we can say in the large scheme, ?no buyer's remorse? is the definition of a good decision. This is true; however the best decisions meet additional conditions. Meeting these conditions not only reduce buyer's remorse they can actually lead to buyer's delight! Buyers? delight has been described as the feeling you get and the acknowledgement that you've made the absolute best decision for your situation.

Digging deeper we find there are elements of a decision that lead to these best conditions and create delight. Is your decision yours alone or will it involve others? If you're choosing a house to buy or where to live, your family will certainly wish to input heavily; especially if you have teenagers who are mobile for instance. Choosing the best lawnmower if your son will be the one driving it would likely involve your son. Making this choice and hearing complaints about your choice every time the lawn grows is not acceptable. So involvement is key. Who are the stakeholders in your choice? Who will care the most? Who will be impacted the most? Who has the most information to offer? These are the first factors when preparing for the decision making process.

The factors you'll consider in the choice is the next question you need to ask. Car buyers consider size, mileage, power, and color. But, how about insurance and repair? How will you look driving in it? How about how the kids will look being seen in it? Resale value? How far a reach is it to adjust the radio? Will you fit in the car wearing your favorite ball cap? All of these may be factors you want to consider. The importance of the factors, or criteria can vary with each decision. In fact the car you buy for yourself, maybe very different that the car you'd buy for your child. The factors are the same but the importance of the factors is different. Understanding the factors and their importance in a decision leads to the best decision and to delight.

Once you've established your factors you have a much clearer picture of your decision and what you are trying to accomplish. Evaluating your options now comes down to gathering information on each factor for each option. This may sound a bit tedious but how tedious does this have to be viewed as painful when you're about to spend $30,000? If the factors are the backbone of the decision you wish to make then the information you gather is surely the glue that holds it all together. Garbage in equals garbage out applies here as much as it does in any computer program. Information gathered must be accurate and truthful and describe in as much detail as needed for each factor for each option. The sum of the information and factors that represent each option will guide you to the absolute best decision.

The last component of a good decision is the understanding of the options and what those options can produce ? whether good or bad. There is NO perfect option and no matter which option you choose, it will carry both positive and negative outcomes. You've just purchased the perfect car for you. In your decision you considered your wife doesn't want a manual shift but since this is your car, you're willing to accept some occasional feedback. What you didn't consider in finding the perfect car for you was the impact it might have when it was time to find the perfect car for your wife! Sure this decision may have happened years ago, but the impact is real enough today and you can bet she won't forget which criteria you used in your choice. Suffice to say, your delight factor with your choice may change a bit!

Really good decisions are not hard to achieve when you understand exactly what you are trying to decide. Consulting those impacted by your decisions is a great starting point. Enrolling them in the criteria or evaluation factors will insure alignment and support of the final outcome. As you gather information to add to your study, be clear on its accuracy and completeness. Think beyond your decision before you execute it and look for unintended and unexpected consequences. Then, put together a plan that deals with both. Completing each of these steps will lead to many ?good? decisions and very few pains of buyer's remorse.

by Stephen Straining
References and Bibliography

Stephen Straining operates the site http://www.MyDecisionSpace.com. The tools found on the site are dedicated to helping families make better decision to save time, resources and money. Better decisions make for happier families and lives!

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