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... the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

MANAGERS spend most of their time making decisions. Decision makers often go by precedents or rely on their own experience, knowledge and intuition to make decisions. But there are times when the decision maker is unsure about the right decision. He may be hampered by time, lack of information, intimidated by the risks involved, and numerous other hurdles. Here are a few adaptive techniques that you could use for arriving at a decision, when you are not quite sure of making the right choice. Address issues, not people: Define the problem/ situation and try to resolve the issue and not the blame. Don't let a situation spin out of control by overreacting. If the problem seems overwhelming, break it down into smaller and more manageable units so that you have several smaller related problems. Solve one problem at a time. Then another. Then the next. When the pieces fall into place, the bigger picture gets clearer.

Incremental decisions: Before making an upfront commitment to an irreversible decision, try other smaller options available that would nevertheless add up and help you achieve your final objective. If, for example, you intend setting up an office in a new area, try to get a lease or a rented property, instead of going for an outright purchase. If the property is suitable, you could always extend your lease or buy it out. If not, you will have saved yourself from making a wrong decision. Management by experimentation and exploration Weigh all options available. Use information available to generate a solution, through tentative but precise exploration. Don't jump to conclusions. Learn to strategise and prioritise decisions. Concentrate on critical issues. .

Hedging: Avoid making `do or die' decisions that leave you with no way out, unless you are totally convinced and committed. Spread your risks and leave your options open. For example, instead of channelling all your resources in one risky venture, spread the risk by offsetting the risky venture with safer, more conservative ones that could help you cushion any loss.

Intuition: Avoid making decisions purely based on your intuition and gut feelings. Use logic and common sense first; then trust your gut feeling. That should help you make the right choice.

Go Slow: Don't hurry when it is not needed. Sometimes, time is the best doctor - problems and situations resolve themselves without any outside interference. In such cases, it is best to wait and watch.

Uncover hidden options: Enduring decisions are made only if there are options to choose from. Forced choices do not leave much scope for decision-making. However, concentrate on uncovering hidden opportunities and advantages, even if you are left with no other options. Sitting on the fence and avoiding making decisions to escape the unpleasant aspects of risk, fear and anxiety is no way to get out of a sticky situation. Trust yourself, your values, your experience and your heart; go ahead with confidence and courage.


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