Making the right decisions enables you to take the right actions to achieve your goals
Decision-making is a critical soft skill in work and life. Making the right decisions enables you to take the right actions to achieve your goals. What ensures you make the right decision?
In our point of view, making decisions is really about remembering what your purpose is and what goal you want to achieve. What to do and not to do will naturally come to mind.
Being able to make decisions in this way is an essential soft skill, leading to purposeful action. In interaction, making decisions in this manner is experienced as authentic and trustworthy.
Here we describe our take on decision-making and how you ensure you take the best decisions. At the end we have listed how coaching supports you in making the best decisions.
Our other articles on decision-making and choice are available in the category: Decision-making.
What is decision-making?
In its simplest form, decision-making is the process of choosing between different options. The original meaning of ‘to decide’ is to cut off. To decide what to ‘cut off’ and what to keep you need to have a process of careful consideration in place.
The right process of consideration enables you to make the best decision with the least effort involved. This in turn ensures you take the right actions to achieve your goals after you have reached your decision.
We will first describe the decision-making process that prepares you to make the right decisions in your personal life. We will then show you how to use the same process in a modified form in a professional setting.
Making personal decisions
The right process of decision-making takes as its starting point your purpose and what is of critical importance in your life. As an arrival point you take the result you need. This means there are two points to keep in mind during the decision-making process: what is most important to you and the result you require at this moment.
- Point of departure: Your purpose. Your purpose is about the core of your life, what is required to be you, your identity, heart, values, feelings, in brief: what empowers your life. Don’t make it too difficult or high-flown. You can recognize it easily by noticing what gives you energy and joy. That’s your purpose.
- Point of arrival: The result. What do you want to come out of the decision? The result gives direction and definition to what the process of decision-making and action must be geared to.
Avoid being led by circumstances
Often when decisions seem hard, the purpose and the result are insufficiently in evidence in your mind. When these factors are not leading, the circumstances get the chance to define the meaning of the situation for you. The options that appear are confined to what seems possible in those particular circumstances. They lack the focus of your purpose and the result you want. The decision-making process becomes limited by circumstances.
Taking your purpose as your point of departure, you will immediately know what cannot be ‘cut-off’. You know, because that would not be in line with who you really are.
Taking the result as your point of arrival will then clarify what options are in line with what you want. This way the circumstances do not determine your decision. Your decision-making process becomes clear and in line with your values and goals. You decide what you do or do not do within the situation you find yourself in.
It is possible to measure the quality of your decision-making process. The higher your self-confidence, and the lower the energy it costs you, the better the decision-making process is suited to who you are and what your life needs at that particular moment.
This is exactly the kind of decision-making process that results from keeping your purpose and the result you want in mind. It leads to clarity about what to do and what not to do. This results in self-confidence and effortless action.
This is even the case when your decision-making is about emotionally charged situations.
Dealing with emotions in the decision-making process
Sometimes you are forced by circumstances into making a decision. Examples of this are when you are forced to leave your job, or when you have to do something in your job you don’t feel comfortable about. It can also be something like a relationship ending, or when you have to decide on a course of treatment for an illness.
The emotions in these situations tend to have a strong influence on your decision-making. More than ever it is important in these instances to remember what your life is really about. Keeping your purpose and the result in mind will guide you to the best possible decision for you.
Changed perspective, different options
Decision-making is always about you, whatever the circumstances seem to force on you. Of course circumstances are sometimes unchangeable. Yet by remembering who you are and what is important to you, your perspective on the circumstances changes. Once your perspective changes different options also become visible. These options will always be in line with your purpose and values, and show you a clear path towards the decision that is best for you to take.
Decision-making in a professional context
In a professional context, you take the same points of departure and arrival into account to make a decision.
- Point of departure: You determine what the purpose is of the area you are making a decision about. What absolutely has to remain and is important? What are the values that you have to take into account?
- Point of arrival: What is the result that you want to achieve? Especially in a professional setting it is important to be as specific as possible in defining the result.
With these two points in mind, you start the process of information gathering, formulating and reviewing the different options, risk assessment, and finally, taking the decision.
As in the case of personal decision-making, taking purpose and result into account gives you the lead in the decision, instead of the circumstances dictating what has to happen.
Using these soft skills in decision-making provides you with a clear view of what you need to do to achieve the necessary result. It enables you to take purposeful action, engage others in the process in a manner that is perceived as trustworthy, and show reliable leadership.
Even in complex and changing circumstances you will know how to make a decision that is in accordance with your purpose, values and the goals you want to achieve. What is more, due the fact that your attitude is perceived as authentic your actions will be experienced as respecting the needs of others.
Coaching in Decision-making
Our results show that coaching in decision-making enable you to do these things:
- Weighing your decisions in keeping with your purpose and goals.
- Act on your decisions authentically.
- Explaining your decisions that involve others respectfully.
- Being risk aware, and at the same time open to opportunities.
- Handling disruptions, change, or conflicting interests with calmness and decisiveness.
- Dealing with complex and shifting situations with creativity and in accordance with your purpose, values and goals.
- Gaining clarity of direction to make the best personal (career) decisions.
- Having a personal rule for decision that includes what is essential to you in any situation.