• Glin Bayley

The Inertia of Decision Making

Whether you are a ‘go to’person or not all depends on your ability to make decisions.

Have you ever heard of a ‘go to’ a person that was incapable of making decisions?  It’s highly unlikely, unless of course they were the person that was known for the cultivating an environment where decisions go to die.


We have all experienced people like that in our environments ,those that will sit on requests to make decision but never do, ultimately letting time dictate the options available.

It’s fair to say, however, you will make more of a difference if you choose to make decisions vs. not making decisions.  And in truth it doesn’t matter whether you make the ‘right’ decision - it matters that you make ‘a’ decision.


I say this because the main issue with decision making is that people confuse good outcomes with good decision making, and bad outcomes with bad decision making. When the reality is that they are not necessarily correlated.


Good decision making is a rare and valuable skill and it begins with a firm commitment to make a decision.   There is a lot of inertia where decision making is concerned mainly because of the fear of getting it wrong, the responsibility it brings, and the accountability that is usually attributed for the outcomes that the decision leads to.


You can make a perfectly good decision based on all of the information you have to hand and still not get the outcome you wanted.  Say for example, making a decision to take a new route to work that was calculated to be quicker only to then encounter delays due to an accident.  Was it a bad decision?  Not based on the information you had at the time, but it’s easy to confuse your outcome as a consequence of a bad decision – when in truth it was a bad outcome not a bad decision.


You could make a decision to recruit one team member over another and then subsequently have the person you chose decline the role and then lose out on both prospects – this doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision.  You chose based on the need you had to find the right person for the role.


The key to smart decision making is to ignore any sunk costs (investments made that are not recoverable), whether that be in time or money.  Don’t make a decision to continue down a path because of everything you have already invested – that won’t help you make a better decision.


Consider instead the options that are available to you, options that will take you closer to what you want for your future.  There is no point in continuing with something because you’ve made the time and money investment, if it’s clear the outcome is not what you wanted.


How often have you seen people put up with poor performing team members just because of the time, money and effort that went into recruiting them?  It makes no sense.  Instead choose an option that takes you closer to what you want  - if you want a high performing team then make a new decision with the new information you have and ignore what you’ve spent (sunk) previously it’s irrelevant.


New decisions are worth more than your pride, acknowledge when you know better you do better. Don’t get stuck in the inertia of decision making – because you’ll only get better at making decisions through the practice of making them.


Be the ‘go to’ person in your world, be a decision maker.

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