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Words we'd love to hear at work: “You have chosen wisely.”


While decision making is a critical component of management, there are times when it’s best not to decide. As much as possible we’d like all the parameters to be in our favor, so we can, as the knight from Indiana Jones famously said, “Choose wisely.” In the past we covered why people push off decisions for negative reasons, but sometimes there are compelling reasons to postpone decision making.


Situations in which we should not make decisions:


1. When we’re in an unbalanced emotional state. Be it angry, overjoyed, grumpy or frustrated, it’s best to try not to make big decisions when our emotional balance is in flux. Clear thought and calm demeanor are always best for making decisions.


2. When we don’t have all the data we need. Sometimes we need to make decisions based on incomplete information that will never arrive. But if you’re waiting on some important data, don’t go ahead and decide just because you are impatient.


3. When we are in a rush. “It’s getting late, let’s just decide”. “It’s almost lunchtime, let’s just move on”. An important decision should be given the time it needs to be done properly and not based on some arbitrary time someone set for lunch.


4. When it’s not your decision to make. An integral part of management is knowing the scope of your playing field and have a clear set of expectations with your direct manager with regards to your authority. Say a client is asking for a refund for an exorbitant sum of money. You may be inclined to give the “OK” on your own, but make sure this is within your rights. While we can debate the idea of whether it’s proper for a more senior manager to overrule you, once you’ve decided, its best not to get into that situation to begin with.


5. When you’ve got a bad feeling about it. Instincts and experience can provide a lot of added value for a manager when used properly. Don’t make a decision when you have a really bad feeling about something, only to have it come back to haunt you and leave you saying, “I knew this wasn’t a smart thing to do!


If you’re about to make a serious business decision, be sure not to fall into one of the traps above. Doing so will bring you one step closer to “Choosing wisely”!

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