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    Decision Making and Mistakes

    Decision Making and Mistakes

    Indecision can seriously hinder productivity and success; however, making rash decisions can be equally as counter-productive.  No matter what you are doing, it is important to make confident and well thought out and educated decisions.  Doing this is far easier said than done.  Do you always have time to be extremely thought out and detailed?  Do you use the most of the time you have or do you make decisions to promptly?  The slippery slope of being deliberative and making quick decisions is a hard one to navigate.  Making the wrong choice can be costly and so can spending too little or too much time on a project.


    Remember in school when the teacher would tell you to go with your first instinct?  There is a reason why they gave this advice.  Your instincts are based on experience and using them, when uncertain, can usually lead to a positive outcome.  However, it is extremely important not to become dependent on your instincts.   If you make decisions purely on instincts you will eventually create issues.  It is important to research and explore different ways of completing a task and use your instincts as a final decision maker.  If you do your research and educate yourself on a topic and then have a few options left, that is the best time to use your gut.  Don’t be scared to use instincts to make a final decision once you narrow things down to a few choices.  Let it be a deciding factor but do not let instincts be the only factor when making a decision.



    When a problem arises and a decision on how to deal with said problem occurs, it is important to make sure you understand the issue.  What is the situation and how did it start?   What is the outcome we are looking for and what is the best way to achieve the outcome?  Finally, how has this issue been addressed in the past?  Researching answers to these questions helps for the framework for a solution.  If the issue is common there are likely many successful ways to deal with it.  If the issue is uncommon, you might have to see how similar issues were dealt with prior to deciding.  No matter the circumstances, spending some time learning from past experiences helps you make a better solution.  Knowing certain things have a history of working allows you to be more confident in the path you have chosen to take.    You gain this confidence by seeing what has happened in the past, via research, and making a decision for the future.



    One of the worst things you can do is second guess yourself once a decision is made.   It affects you and the people around you.  You will, at some point, make a mistake and make a poor decision but you cannot let those instances scare you.  Mistakes and failures are learning opportunities and it is never too late to learn, but looking back on mistakes should happen after the fact not during an event or project.  A great example is a dinner party.  If you decided to make a certain dish trying to make changes at the last minute because you are not confident will usually make things worse.  Be confident in your cooking skills and if things do not turn out perfectly you will know what to do differently next time.  However, look at it from the guest perspective.  If the food is a little off they likely will be fine eating it and enjoy the party.  If you are not confident when you serve the dish people will be less likely to be open minded to trying it.  The food tastes the same but people will be hesitant to eat it if you are worried about every detail.   Be confident and your perspective of the situation and other peoples perspective will remain positive and things generally will turn out better.


    Learning from Mistakes

    No one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes; however, people react and deal with mistakes differently.  Some people worry about what will happen because of their error and other people quickly move on to the next task at hand.  It is important to find a balance between these two ways of dealing with errors.  When a mistake happens there is no point panicking.  The best thing to do is find a solution to the issue and then go back, when calm and collect, after the fact and see what went wrong.  By doing so you give yourself a new perspective on events and you can figure out what to do differently next time. 


    Admitting Fault

    One of the worst things you can do is fail to admit and realize a mistake was made.  By denying errors you deny yourself and your team the opportunity to become better.  Most people will respect a coworker more who admits mistakes were made and works with their team to learn from this mistake.  Hiding an error and failing to recognize it happens will only cause more problems in the long run.  You are not the only person who can learn valuable lessons from your mistakes.  By admitting and recognizing an error you give yourself and everyone around you the chance to do better going forward.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.  The only real way to gain better results is recognizing mistakes and learning what needs to change.  This allows you and your whole team to benefit.  So, do not shrink responsibility and don’t hide mistakes, embrace them, admit fault and do better next time.



    In the modern professional work environment, being efficient and being productive is crucial.  Companies want to do more with less people.  The only way to ensure the job gets done is to be as efficient as possible.  Being confident and being open minded with peers and supervisors allows this to occur.  If you are unsure what the best course of action is, involve other people in the decision-making process.  Listen to them, take their advice, and make a decision you can be confident with.  This will help you be more productive.  You will spend less time second guessing yourself and you might even get some help from others, you also might help others in their projects as well accidentally.  Working collaboratively has been the trend in the professional world and this trend is not going away because it works.  Partnering with others is a great way to remain productive and helps ensure your work projects go as efficiently as possible. 


    Indecision can be cancerous to an office and any life circumstance.  You will make mistakes and you must come to terms with this in order to be better.   So make a decision and go with it.  If things go poorly make sure you learn from your mistakes and move forward.  Worrying about what can happen and what has happened in the past too much does not benefit anyone.  So next time you are not sure about what decision to make, do some research, do not overthink, involve others, and decide you can be confident with.  It will only benefit you and your peers in the long run.

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