In business, just as in life, excellent decision-making skills draw the line between success and failure. Some of the things that make the great leaders of our world are fast thinking and reacting, betting right on expected values, and envisioning long-term strategies.
Decision-making skills represent the cornerstone of good leadership and successful businesses. But, can one train such skills? Can one fine-tune critical thinking, problem-solving, risk assessment, and so on? Experts agree that we have at our disposal a handful of methods to improve and perfect them. Let’s see some tools that can help you refine your decision-making skills!
1. Practice with Decision Trees
Coming with a natural “if/then/else” construction, decision trees make an excellent instrument helping you visualize a decision and break it in categories and components. One of the most popular algorithms for classification, decision trees are the bread and butter of machine learning and data mining. In business, a decision tree helps a leader take a firm grip on all the variables involved in the decision process.
Decision trees have many applications, from analyzing brand expansion opportunities to resource allocation for a product’s marketing campaign. Decision trees allow you to conceptualize all the small and significant factors that can lead to or deviate you from your goal.
Decision trees are useful tools you can also share with your team to help them make more refined, successful, and mindful choices.
2. Flex Your Problem-Solving Muscle with Mind Maps
You cannot excel in decision making without having strong problem-solving skills. The latter helps you make more informed choices, thus helping you to prioritize tasks and save time and resources. Problem-solving represents a cognitive process implying the identification, analysis, and resolving of a problem. Closely intertwined, problem-solving, and decision-making are the pre-requisite skills of a successful business leader.
Building a mind map for a problem or a decision allows you to see the bigger picture. It also helps you understand where you are and where you need to go. The main goal of a mind map is to ease you into conquering the initial chaos and panic, and, most importantly, forming new ideas through association. The core of a mind map is these new ideas that path your way to the problem’s solution or a firm decision.
Once you choose your preferred mind-mapping software, start practicing with it. Run easy to hard problems through the mind map. Be mindful of the newly generated ideas, as they are the foundation of your improved decision-making skills.
Mind maps are some of the best business analysis techniques for brainstorming ideas and getting to the root of problems, as well as envisioning a multitude of potential solutions.
3. Use Risk-Free Trading Software to Boost Your Risk-Assessment Skills
When it comes to deciding in business or life, you cannot circumvent risk assessment. But how good are you in evaluating short-term and long-term risks? As cliché as it is, with great power does come great responsibility. In other words, analyzing what works and what fails in real-time is a skill all business leaders need to boost.
Trading software allows you to make quick decisions and build medium and long-term strategies with no risks. All you have to do is download a forex demo account and start making transactions. A demo account works with virtual money, not a real budget, so you are safe from losing anything.
When it comes to trading software, you have to know it will give you a good run for your (make-believe) money. Nevertheless, it is perhaps one of the best tools to use if you want to refine critical thinking, strategizing, long-term vs. short-term risks, “gut feeling” decision-making, and especially emotional control.
As you probably know by now, decision making and problem-solving generate a lot of stress. Demo trading platforms are particularly useful when you want to:
- excel at risk evaluation,
- overcoming uncertainty, apply probabilistic analysis to outcomes’ likelihood,
- and manage frustration tolerance better.
4. Use the Vroom-Yetton Decision Model to Get a Grip on Your Decision-Making Style
The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Normative Leadership Decision Model suggests anyone can make decisions based on the current situation or problem that needs solving. This model emphasizes peoples’ strengths and weaknesses, allowing them to paint a mental picture on the overall effect their decisions have on the organization and all its members.
The Vroom-Yetton Model consists of seven questions one needs to answer. Each answer then leads to decision trees and courses of action, creating a map that helps you get closer to your goal. Remember that this model takes into account your traits as a leader, and places focus on your willingness to make your team a part of the problem solving and decision-making processes.
5. Gamification in the Decision-Making Process
Any decision you make, from what to have for dinner to how best market your new product, comes with immediate or delayed consequences. Unfortunately, many business owners and leaders focus on the short-term outcomes and results, ignoring the long-term ones. The reason for this is simple. As you plan further and further, the number of possible scenarios and the hidden variables increase exponentially, blurring your view into the future.
Experts agree that leaders can align each action’s immediate return with the value of its long-term consequences through gamification.
Based on the design and laws of computer video games, gamification is an advanced tool. Nowadays, we use it in policymaking, emergency responses, dietary choices, sales, social behavior modeling, and more.
One can build its decision-making skills through gamification by playing digital simulation games where a character needs to make decisions and live their consequences. In a corporate environment, decision-making gamification can also take the shape of role-playing games, “what if” games, time-sensitive decision-making games, and so on.
Of course, some of the best games to boost your decision-making skills and everything they involve are still chess, Go, Risk, poker, and many others.
Decision making is a complex process that we might not even comprehend fully. Some people can decide in seconds what to do in life or business, while others take days or weeks to decide on a course of action. Decision making has a little to do with personality traits and “gut feelings.” However, it has a lot to do with practice and improving. How do you train your decision-making muscles in your everyday life and business? Are there other techniques you use?
With a degree in neurocognitive sciences and a passion for everything cutting-edge in our hi-tech world, Ethan Featherly made it his life’s goal to work as a coach and apply psychology and emerging technologies in organizational environments.