Decisions Build Careers
by Ramon Greenwood
Do you dislike making decisions and avoid the challenge whenever you can?
Take heart. Look around and you will find you have plenty of company.
Management psychologists Irving L. Janis and Leon Mann say people tend to be
'reluctant decision makers' because they are 'beset by conflict, doubts and
worry.' They explain that people 'seek relief by procrastinating, rationalizing
and denying responsibility' in making choices.
This human tendency creates a big vacuum. Its name is opportunity!
"Organizations cannot function, certainly cannot succeed, without good
decision-makers. Organizations reward those men and women who are willing and
able to fill those roles," according to Ramon Greenwood, senior career counselor
Therefore, opportunities are available for those who are willing and able to
come to grips with decision-making. It's the very essence of management. Success
depends on being confident and reasonably comfortable with the process. Of
course, success also requires a good batting average of right decisions. That
doesn't mean you have to be right all of the time; it means be right more often
Why People Shy Away From Decisions
It helps to understand some of the reasons why people dislike making
All decisions encompass some degree of irrevocability. Once a decision has
been made there is no returning to square one. There is a price tag attached to
every decision. There are bound to be winners and losers.
Decisions expose us to attention. We may lack confidence in our ability to
make decisions. We may not know how to make decisions.
These facts of life breed the kinds of stress that make some people so
uncomfortable they had rather let others call the shots and take home the
rewards. Others are willing to stick their heads in the sand and let the issues
How To Make Better Decisions
You can improve your tolerance for making decisions and do a better job at it
by embracing a few common sense ideas.
It is important to realize that although each decision carries with it
certain consequences, no outcome is likely to be the raging success or the
unmitigated catastrophe we tend to imagine.
You will not be a good decision maker if your goal is always to avoid losing
rather than always trying to win. Nobody in his or her right mind can expect to
be right 100 percent of the time. Besides that, as I have already said, you
don't always have to be right in order to come out an overall winners.
You can't afford to be defensive about decisions that turn out to be wrong.
When you are wrong, and you will be from time to time, admit it and go on.
If you want to be a good decision-maker don't get hung up waiting for all of
the facts before coming to a conclusion. Satisfy your self that you understand
the issue and have weighed all of the options. Test the alternative solutions
among those who know the situation and will be impacted by the decision. Decide.
Learn to trust your intuition. Hunches are not random bolts out of the blue.
They are rooted in all the knowledge and experience you have accumulated in
general and with regard to the issue at hand.
Decisions surrounding major issues should be broken into smaller, manageable
parts. Take the parts one at a time; come to conclusions in sequence.
Resist being pressured into making a decision before you are ready to decide
and act. All problems do not require immediate answers. Sometimes issues resolve
themselves or just go away.
Don't base decisions on popularity. Or on friendship.
Make Decisions To Grow
Nobody says you have to play the game as decision makers. But before deciding
your role, keep in mind how the real world works.
Organizations grow and profit only to the extent that their managers make
good decisions. Therefore, ambitious organizations need and will pay to get men
and women who can make decisions. People who have that ability are in limited
supply. This means there are opportunities to gain positions of leadership and
earn the material rewards that go to those persons who have the ability and
courage to make decisions.
The choice is yours. Make a decision today.
Ramon Greenwood is Senior Career Counselor for
is a former Senior Vice President at American Express, a published author
and syndicated columnist, a professional director and an entrepreneur.