Decision Making in a Confusing World

Trust, But Verify! Decision Making in an Information Overload Scenario

From the time we wake up to the time we finish for the day, we are bombarded with all kinds of facts, opinions, news, and views. In this context, the key imperative is to how to decide on anything to do with our daily lives without missteps and misjudgments. Decision making in a confusing world can be tough and this article discusses some strategies and tips on how to arrive at business or personal decision-making.

The first and foremost aspect is that one must trust the source but must verify the facts.

In other words, this means that one must not take everything that comes one’s way without ascertaining whether the information is true and relevant in addition to being pertinent and factual. This means that whenever we are presented with a particular piece of information, we need to double check and cross check it with other sources.

A simple strategy here would be to cross check the information received from one source with other sources so that any possible misinformation can be vetted and verified. This works for most business leaders who often insist on multiple reports from different individuals so that they can make up their minds about the likely course of action.

The point here is that we must not blindly trust all the information and use our sense of discretion and discernment when making up our minds.

Defer the Decision without Delaying

The second aspect related to decision making in a confusing world refers to the ability to defer the decision without rushing into judgment and at the same time without delaying it too much.

Research into behavioral decision-making indicates that it would be better to have a lag between the time the information is received and the time one makes the decision.

In other words, look before you leap and take your time before arriving at a decision. The crucial window of time that is needed for successful decision making often makes the difference between success and failure.

Business leaders often take the time to listen to everyone’s point of view, and then ponder about the course of action to be decided, and then only arrive at a decision. In case on the spot decisions are required, then rely on your own experience and your own judgmental abilities instead of relying on others. After all, if you are the decision maker, you would be held responsible for the consequences and not the others. Therefore, taking responsibility and having discernment are both admirable and advisable qualities in decision makers.

Keep your Eyes Wide Open and Listen to the Boots on the Ground

The third aspect is related to the need to keep one’s eyes wide open meaning that one must actively seek information and knowledge from others. The best decision makers are those who equip themselves with the necessary knowledge and have the information about the macro issues at their fingertips.

Most business leaders in the corporate world subscribe to think tanks and publications such as Harvard Business Review so that they are abreast of the latest happenings in the world of business. Apart from this, they actively seek feedback and listen to the other employees or the “boots on the ground” so that when they need to take a decision, the chances of them being misled by those with hidden agendas is minimal.

One needs to remember that the corporate jungle or the euphemism for the corporate world resembles the metaphor and hence, success belongs to those who are astute, adroit, and agile. All these qualities need experience and an ability to synthesize information from different sources and to forge everything together into a cohesive and coherent set of data points that can be used as the basis of decision-making.

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Decision Making