Making Clear Decisions is Not Getting Easier
Decision-making at the leadership or management level of an organization has never been simple. But is it getting more complicated? Business psychologist Camille Preston thinks so.
“If you think it is more difficult to make decisions in 2019 than it was 10 or 20 years ago, you’re not deluded,” she writes on Forbes.com.
Preston suggests that an abundance of ambiguity and information in the business world, combined with ever-increasing pressure to move quickly, have placed extra stress on those making the big decisions.
“We now face growing uncertainty about the future of work, have access to more information and are under pressure to act immediately,” she observes. “Simply put, we have less time to digest, mull, reflect and then act.”
To cope with this reality, Preston presents five aspects that should be considered by the shot-callers.
- Embrace uncertainty.
“In 2019, leaders face great uncertainty about what will happen next as automation transforms the economy,” she writes. “We know that change is coming. What we can’t seem to predict is the scale of this forthcoming change.”
- Explore options without being overwhelmed.
“The bottom line is that we do have more options than we did in the past in all realms of life,” Preston explains. “While this is something to celebrate, it is impacting our decision-making processes on every level. Some researchers even suggest that it is leading to paralysis.”
- Understand distributed workforces.
“A leader might assume that what he or she sees or hears on the ground in their home location holds true across locations,” she theorizes. “The best distributed work teams are defined by trust, communication, and transparency.”
- Integrative decision-making is an asset.
Preston praises Kenneth R. Brousseau’s work on decision-making styles, when it comes to the integrative approach. “People using an integrative style don’t necessarily look for a single best solution. Their tendency is to frame any situation very broadly, taking into account multiple elements that may overlap with other, related situations,” Brousseau wrote in 2006 in the Harvard Business Review. “Consequently, they make decisions that are broadly defined and consist of multiple courses of action.”
- Manage stress.
“If decision making is increasingly a process rather than an event, however, it is also going to be more stressful,” Preston writes. “You are committing to live with your decisions over time and to constantly return to them. To ensure you’re fully prepared to make decisions amid ambiguity, then, it is also important to manage your stress.”
About the author(s)
Bryan Wawzenek is a content creator at CASE