Make Better Decisions

by Courtney Ramirez on April 5, 2011

A recent study in Psychological Science sheds light on an interesting way to make better decisions. According to research conducted by the University of Twente in the Netherlands, people make better decisions when they have to “go.” Researchers had study participants drink five cups of water and then answer a series of questions forty minutes later. The participants were more likely to make better choices when their bladders were full.

But rather than wait until your decision makers have to “go” to make decisions, there are other ways that can drive great decision making for your organization. Good decisions are critical in leading a business toward success, so owners and managers should pay close attention to these keys.

  1. Examine the decisions that have been made in the past.
    Evaluating how decisions have paid off, or not, in the past can lead to better decisions in the future. Do a self-analysis and consider the decisions that have been made and how those decisions panned out. Ask team members to evaluate projects after they are completed. Look at the things that went right during the project and the things that went wrong. By using a combined effort, the entire company can start to make better decisions.
  2. Be independent.
    Although team members contribute to the decision making process, ultimately the decision is yours to make. After evaluating input and considering options, you need to be independent in the decision making process. This way you’ll end up making a strong decision that will get things done – rather than a group decision that may be muddled by conflicting interests.
  3. Stop overthinking things.
    As the University of Twente study shows, it’s sometimes better to make decisions quickly – based on instinct – rather than belaboring the decision. Turning off your mind, or switching to a different problem for a moment, can actually make it easier to make a decision on the first problem. Your brain will have the opportunity to scan through your memory bank and find just the solution you’re looking for.
  4. Understand that you sometimes have to start from scratch.
    Often times, the decision making process is stalled when you try to avoid undoing past decisions. For example, you may be limiting your options if you don’t consider scrapping your progress and beginning from square one. When you’re making a decision, you need to consider what will be best for your organization, not necessarily what will preserve what you have created so far.

Courtney Ramirez
Research Analyst, Pacific Business Centers

Courtney’s research for Pacific Business Centers focuses on tracking emerging office space trends and best practices – with an emphasis on how they affect business operations, technology, and the future of work trends.

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