Want to Make Better Decisions? Follow These Simple Steps

Last week, a radio host said to me, “So, I want to make better decisions. How do I do that? We have about 30 seconds left.”

“That’s simple,” I said. “In any environment, at work, with friends, playing on a team, you should ask three questions. First, ‘who are the best decision-makers around me?’ Second, ‘What are they doing that I should be doing?’ Third, ‘What are they not doing, that I shouldn’t be doing?’ In other words, emulate the habits of the best thinkers around you.”

Now, let me flesh this out a little bit. If you take a minute to think about it, you’ll be able to identify at least one person you admire in the environment around you, maybe two. If you’re at work, this might be a colleague who always seems to know what to do. In a community group, it might be the person everyone turns to for leadership. On an intramural team, it could be the person who gets everyone energized when you’re down five points with three minutes left.

So ask yourself, “What habits does this person practice that I need to adopt as well? Maybe he takes the time to connect with colleagues in ways that really demonstrates he cares. Perhaps she is always up the larger context of significant decisions so as not to be blind-sided. Maybe he displays the confidence to use his intuition, even when the outcome is unknown. These traits, and many others, form the decision-making skills that enable success in any environment. Build a list as you observe these individuals. Then act to develop these habits yourself.

Finally, ask yourself, what is this person not doing that I shouldn’t be doing? Does he eat salads at lunch rather than hamburgers and cheese steaks? Does she read during the evening rather than crashing in front of Hulu? Does he confine his social media to three times a day rather than three times an hour? If you don’t know, take time to observe. Self-restraint is essential to decision-making. The best decision-makers in any environment practice better habits of mind. How about you?


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