3 Decision Making Strategies to Counter Option Paralysis

Simple decision-making strategies to increase your productivity

Every business professional needs to be effective in completing their tasks but, they can be stumped when a difficult situation arises. Perhaps a client is not satisfied with your product or a key founding partner wants to leave the company. One of the biggest deterrents to making the right decision in any scenario is option paralysis: not being able to make decisions because there are too many options one can choose from. One quick fix to this issue is being impulsive and going with your gut but, this can often times backfire. So what can one do, to stop option paralysis? Below are several decision-making strategies in which you can help optimize your decision-making and make sure you can make the right choice in a timely manner.

 The power of SWOT

From my own experiences in business I have seen most people use SWOT when working on a business plan and not in everyday life. SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, is a great decision-making strategy used by most business professionals when planning a new business venture such as the launching of a new product line or a merger.  I use this decision-making strategy to quickly see the bigger picture before I make any important decision. Whether it be choosing what to prioritize during the day or who I should do business with to maximize my profit, using this model can help tremendously with speed and productivity.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Political support
  • Funding available
  • Market experience
  • Strong leadership
  • Project is very complex
  • Likely to be costly
  • May have environmental impact
  • Staff resources are already stretched
Opportunities Threats
  • Project may improve local economy
  • Will improve safety
  • Project will boost company’s public image
  • Environmental constraints
  • Time delays
  • Opposition to change

Example from: Business News Daily

Using this strategy can also help when explaining to your team why you decided to go a specific route. Having a diagram of how you came to your decision will help when explaining why you thought your decision was best for the group and it can help when reflecting on how the decision effected your business when looking back.

Trust your team

Whenever a decision seems too much to handle, remember that you are not alone. Seeking advice is always a really simple way to make sure you are not being complacent in making an important decision. Asking for another person’s perspective can often times enlighten you and show you others ways you can handle specific issues that you may have never considered. One of the reasons it is always best to surround yourself with people who do not think like you is so you can expand your mind and constantly learn different ways to approach any given situation. Never forget the power of the many in making a decision, one person can only see so much. Another positive of making difficult decisions through the advice of others is that you get to see how your team members will make decisions in your absence. It is very important to know who you should trust with the responsibility of making choices for the team in the event of an emergency when you are not able to be there and supervise the situation. It also shows who can possibly become your successor if you ever decide to leave the team and venture off into something else.

Flip a coin

This is the last resort way I make my decisions if I find myself thinking too much about pressing matters. I keep it simple and flip a coin. If it lands and I do not agree with the decision then I know that is the one I have to make. I don’t necessarily let the coin decide for me, I just let it solidify my decision. Do not under any circumstances leave anything up to chance. Just use this tactic to make sure that all doubts are subdued and you can assure yourself that you are doing what you believe is best.

I like to limit my decision-making strategies to these three because as “option paralysis” can deter you from making a decision, the same effect can happen by having too many strategies to work around it as well. Keep things simple when you can so you can go through your life and professional career in a fluid and productive way. You save yourself countless time by keeping these decision-making strategies in mind.

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