CADDManager on January 11th, 2008

Making decisions is a large part of the CAD Managers day. We make them all the time. Hopefully your making more good ones than bad. Decision making does not have to be just random selections of suitcases like the American TV show. It is something that – if you practice – you can actually increase your odds of making a good decision every time.

Maybe you have Decidophobia – Defined as “a persistent, abnormal, and unwarranted fear of making decisions”. This actually exists and sometimes cripples people who just can’t make the call.

Here are some tips for making the bad ones good and the good ones better.

Recognize when a decision needs to be made. Decisions are specific, time sensitive and lead to actions. Not everything requires a decision. When we “wish” something would happen, there is no real decision involved. We may float around from idea to idea on how to make something happen, but until we actually decide, nothing will actually happen.

Decisions narrow down options and planning. By deciding on one thing – you eliminate others. Decisioning, which is a set of software rules and technologies that can decide things for us, like approving loan apps, is not really available in the CAD industry. Nor would you be able to use it on the day to day basis that is required by the fast paced environment of our design firms.

Planning really helps in the decision making process. You have heard it from me before. By having a plan, you have already thought what would be the best targets to hit. This allows you to focus on whatever is important in hitting your targets. Other things that clutter the horizon can be moved aside so that you have a clear view of where you are going.

Having as much information as you can helps to make better decisions. How much is enough? Like I mentioned above – Decisions are time sensitive. Waiting for more information is often a sign of procrastination. Moving before you have enough information is a sign of impulsiveness. Gather as much information as time allows. Define when the decision needs to be made and make it as soon as possible.

Decide in reverse. Define the end and move backwards. Decide where you want to end up and then decide what intermediate steps need to be in place to get there.

Time is on your side. If you use it wisely. Sometimes just letting a little time go by when a decision is coming near can help clarify the options. Do something else for a while. Over stressing on an issue can cloud your judgement. Sleep on it. Take a walk. Leave the office for lunch and go shopping, anything to change the subject for a while. This just might be the break that allows for clear thinking.

Act on your decision. By acting on what you have decided you move toward execution of the plan. By moving on the decision, you lock it in. You make it real. You start the wheels moving. This also verifies the correctness of the decision. If it is going well, then the decision was strong. If you encounter unforeseen troubles it may be time to rethink it. Even if you have just made the decision.

January 2008

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