Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is by Ken Keis (Canada)

How to Make the Right Decision Every Time

Decision: The act or process of deciding; a determination arrived at after consideration; a report of a conclusion; promptness and firmness in deciding

In a recent research study of high performers, one of the top six habits or conditions was that high performers have clarity. As a coach and an individual, you want to equip yourself to make confident decisions, but you also want to do this for your clients. If you want to know how to do this, read on.

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices you have to make—or the copious options that are available to you?
If you answered Yes to the above question, you are not alone. Do you know a very successful individual who is indecisive?

Likely not. As a rule, successful people are decisive. If you want to realise your potential, you must be decisive and make the right decisions specific
for you. Your environment is continually expanding your options and possibilities—requiring you to make even more decisions. Change is pervasive in all parts of your life, from personal, home and family to work. Make no mistake: You cannot avoid that natural law.

In my past 30+ years of assisting individuals and business to succeed, several have hired me to help them in the decision-making process. They
had become ‘stuck.’ It was never my job to make decisions for them— rather, I asked critical questions to help them filter through the layers of information and make their own informed decision.

For those of you who have avoided or delayed making a decision, that in itself is a decision. I want to encourage everyone that no matter your situation, there is hope when it comes to making the right decisions.

So how do you make the right decision every time?

Clarify Your Values

First, you clarify your core behavioural or motivational values. Once you and/or your clients have done this work, you just know that you know that you know. There are way too many moving parts and possibilities to make situational decisions. You then take those core values and filter all your decisions through them—both personal and professional.

There are several research studies that have proven that values clarification is critical to your success in life. Here are just a few benefits to this process:

• Knowing your values lowers your stress levels.
• It improves your resilience and grit.
• You become more objective.
• You are more open to receiving negative feedback.
• Student test scores and units completed go up.

And that is just for starters.

Clarifying your behavioural values is foundational to your success in life. Without doing this, you CANNOT achieve your potential, nor can your
coaching clients. CRG has a partner program for coaches and professional developers. One of our Licensed Associates was working with a client who was struggling to get the sales teams to move the needle. The sales managers did the typical dollar incentive plan for their teams, with few results.
Our Associate was brought in as a consultant and coach to help them with these performance issues. The first step was to have the entire team
complete CRG’s Values Preference Indicator to benchmark each individual’s motivational values and also confirm trends for the teams.

They quickly discovered that money was not a motivator for most of the team members; no wonder monetary incentives were not working! She then worked with the teams to create a customized incentive program reflective of what this team valued. The results were amazing, with a nearly 40% increase in team performance across the entire company. To make the right decision every time, there can be no guessing what you might value or what is important. This needs to be done as baseline work.

Be Prepared

Be prepared for the decisionWe have established that values are foundational, but the next step in making right decisions is getting ahead of any project in life with clear expectations, outcomes, results or conditions. This goes back to the research about clarity. Know what you want from that business, provider, partner or relationship way before you go into it. You can then confirm that this is the correct decision or direction for you.

In today’s highly distracted ‘shiny object’ world, you have to protect yourself and your clients from getting caught up in the moment. There are so many potential opportunities. I have witnessed people get swept up in the excitement of the moment, then develop serious regrets about their decision—after they have given it more thought and consideration.

Here are some additional strategies to consider:

  • This question will get you thinking about the decision-making process: If nothing changed in your life or business in the next five years, would that be okay? If you answered No, you have some decisions
    to make.
  • Beyond values, you need to set up context and guidelines for your decision-making process. Predetermine your guidelines
    before the time arrives to make critical decisions.
  • Prioritise what is most important and non-negotiable in your life or business. You can have only one Number 1 value, not 10 or 20—or as many as people in your life would like you to have.

As mentioned, to help you clarify and prioritise your top values, I suggest you complete CRG’s Values Preference Indicator. We have a process called the Values Matrix, in which you (or your client) will make over 300 decisions in just a few minutes, helping you and your clients prioritize your values. This single strategy will significantly reduce any doubt related to your decisions.

My top five values are Independence, Challenge, Spirituality, Responsibility and Variety. I always use my values as benchmarks when making decisions.

  • Break down your life into its various components, understanding that they are interrelated and interdependent. Don’t try to lump everything together, because that makes it nearly impossible to make a decision.
  • Over 90% of small businesses fail within 10 years, so you can see that the process of being decisive in business is just as important as being decisive in your personal life.

A prime example of decision-making in business is that many owners often can’t decide whether to keep or release a mediocre staff member. With my simple decision-making framework, your options become straightforward and simple:

  1. Ask yourself these questions:
    • Is the person’s work performance acceptable? __ Yes __ No
    • If he or she were doing the job the same way a year from now, would that be okay? __ Yes __ No
  2. If you answered No to both questions, here is one more question:
    • Can the person improve his or her performance? __ Yes __ No
  3. If you answered No, you are faced with a single choice.
    • You must either replace the person or reduce your expectations and accept that individual as is.

Opportunity and decisiveness meet the prepared mind. If you spend time in advance determining what you want in all areas of your life, your subsequent decision-making will reflect your predetermined path.

Another suggestion is that when you are faced with difficult decisions, project yourself into the future as if you have already made the decision. Pay attention to the way you feel and think as you imagine you have already made the decision. This is a far more powerful process than many people understand. Making the right decision means you must trust your intuition and feelings as much as the cognitive facts. There is an exception to the rules I’ve outlined. You should delay making a decision when you are in distress. Your emotions can wreak havoc with your ability to think concisely.

A few years ago, a friend lost her husband to cancer. The time from his hospitalization to his death was only 20 days. There was not much time to plan for the future. My wife and I counselled our friend not to make any major decisions immediately after her husband’s death, but she did not heed our advice. She sold her home and moved—and did not enjoy her new place. That launched her into a cycle of ungrounded decisions. She sold and bought five homes in less than four years. In her frame of mind, understandably, she was not thinking clearly.

Be Confident

Be confidentFinally, you will make the right decisions when you are confident about who you are and what you want. That means your self-worth levels
will be high and you won’t need someone else’s approval to make a decision. Take responsibility for your decisions.

The following assessments will provide additional guidelines so you and your clients can confidently make the right decision every time:
• Personal Style Indicator
• Self-Worth Inventory
• Stress Indication and Health Planner
• Values Preference Indicator

ACTION STEPS How to Make the Right Decision Every Time

  1. Yes, you can make the right decision (almost) every time!
  2. Making the right decisions comes from being clear and prepared in all areas of your life. On a scale of 1 to 10, how clear are you in each of the areas of your life?
  3. What areas can you spend time clarifying so your future decisions have context and guidelines?
  4. You can learn from your previous decisions. What happened when your decision was not the right one? What specifically do you need to consider to keep that sort of mistake from happening in the future?
  5. With so many options, it is important to make values-based decisions, not just opportunity-driven decisions.
  • What are your top non-negotiable values?
  • If you have not yet confirmed them, complete the Values Preference Indicator (VPI) to determine your top priorities.

As a reminder, having 10 Number 1 priorities does not work. Making the right decision always requires you to choose one thing over something

In the VPI, we get you to identify your top 7 values and ask you to rank-order them from 1 to 7.

6. In the end, only you can make decisions for you. Certainly, seek advice and feedback, but only you can make the final decision. Sometimes, individuals seek too much feedback and get confused in the process. If this is the case in your life, back off and quietly reflect on your own choices.
7. Right decisions require confidence in yourself and your choices. Use the following CRG resources to assist you in this process:

a.Personal Style Indicator
b. Stress Indication and Health Planner
c. c.Self-Worth Inventory

8. Do not make a major decision if you are under distress and not thinking clearly, such as after the death of a family member or with another traumatic event. Take the time to recover. Then decide.
9. If you follow the above steps, you can experience the freedom that knowing that you know you made the right decision brings you.

Keep Living On Purpose!