Practical Advice For Making Good Decisions
Late last year brought the new book, Decisions. As seen on Public Television, the book by Robert L. Dilenschneider, features vignettes on 23 individuals who made decisions that shaped the world.
Each chapter offers practical thinking on how these women and men made decisions. You can use their decision-making skills as guidance at work, in your leadership role, and in your daily life.
You’ll learn decision making tips from Harry Truman, Margaret Thatcher, Mohammed Ali, Rachel Carson, Pablo Picasso and others who made decisions during war and peace, and in fields of science, commerce and invention.
Author Dilenschneider suggests takeaways about decision-making from each featured historical figure. Some of my favorite decision-making lessons from history and from the book include these:
- Own your decisions. Be responsible for them and for their implications. Do not be reactionary—that is, making decisions to spite others or because of outside pressure—but do be respectful of their effect on others.
- Keep your decisions in perspective. Many are vital, many are not. Even so, try to take all of them seriously.
- Be aware of how your decisions will affect others, either directly or by the example they set.
- It is essential to have your own “code,” made up of your life experience, your education, your conscience, and all the other building blocks of character. Often this is called having a “moral compass.”
- Have a group of trusted advisors already at hand – family, friends, colleagues – and do not be afraid to reach beyond that close circle to bring in experts as appropriate. Consult these people! Always gauge their motivation. And then test their advice against your judgement.
- It doesn’t matter if you don’t always hit the exact bull’s eye. The other rings in the target score points too.
- Know everything you can about the needs and desires of the people who will be affected by your decisions or who will need to carry out your decisions.
- When possible use stories and illustrations to make your point about your decision.
- You will not be able to foresee all or even many of the results of your decisions. As those results become apparent, and external/internal conditions change, be prepared to make new decisions.
- When your decision plays out to a positive result, be humble.