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How Decisive Are You?

January 27, 2020

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Have you ever been faced with a decision where you just couldn’t make up your mind? Chances are you’re not alone in that struggle. Many of us have dealt with a time or two when decisiveness took a backseat. We were stuck in the crossroads. We’d ponder, go back and forth, overanalyze, second guess…all for the sake of trying to make the right decision. We’d even rely on others to make the decision: “What would you do if you were me?”

The definition of decisive is the ability to decide effectively, firmly and confidently. Being decisive is a highly desirable skill, especially when it comes to career success. We’re far more likely to put our trust in someone who can make clear, confident decisions than a person who overthinks and is paralyzed by indecision.

"Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women.”

-Brian Tracy

The good news is decisiveness is a skill that can be learned and improved with practice and focus. Having the ability to weigh a decision, make it and move on – no woulda, coulda shoulda – is a leadership skill. No matter what position you hold in an organization, employers seek hires who are decisive.

So, if you’re ready to strengthen your decision-making skills and put your stake in the ground with certainty, follow these proven strategies for success.

Gather as Much Information as Possible

To make a clear, effective decision you must be prepared. Take the time to really think about the decision. For example, if you’re considering a job offer, talk to people in the field who can give you an honest perspective of the company. Read and ask those close to you for advice. Ask yourself if the job is a good fit? While you’re doing your due diligence, you may get that “ah-ha” moment where the choice becomes crystal clear. If not, move on to another decision-making step.

Focus on the Most important Elements

Of all the things you’re considering, be sure to give the critical elements greater weight when making the decision. Prioritize the factors. This will help guide you to the right decision.

Don’t Panic or Act on Impulse

Unfortunately, society conditions us to respond as quickly as possible. For example, we see it all the time in the retail industry. “Act now! This out-of-the-world appliance sale won’t be here tomorrow!” The message targets your emotions to make a quick decision before it’s too late. Resist the urge to make a rash decision. Go about it with clarity. Take your time and consider the long-term consequences of the decision.

Use the 10/10/10 Strategy

When faced with an extremely difficult decision, employ the 10/10/10 strategy, which lets you look ahead and try to see how the decision will play out over time. It’s a strategy used by successful leaders such as Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger. Ask yourself the following questions: How will I feel about my decision in 10 minutes? How will I feel about it in 10 months? How will I feel about it in 10 years? Every decision has an impact on the next one. This approach will help guide you to an effective decision.

Break It Down

When faced with a big decision, break it into a series of little decisions. When a undertaking seems like it could be too much to tackle all at once, take small steps, get more information, reconsider and then make the next decision.

Look for the Good Outcomes

Look for the positive results that can come from the decision. When you put your focus on the negative, you choose fear. Examine all the benefits – the glass half full – and make your decision as if you were afraid of missing a wonderful opportunity.

Consider the Negative Results

If things go wrong, as they sometimes will, what’s the worst that can happen? How can you mitigate problems? Consider the bad as well as the good when making that all-important decision.

Look for Other Options

Decision-making is a lot like problem solving. Don’t feel you’re locked into only one or two alternatives. There are always more options if you look for them. If you feel you can’t make the decision you’re faced with, come up with an alternative that will make you happy.


Nancy SchnoebelenAbout the Author: Nancy Schnoebelen Imbs is an empowering professional development consultant, dynamic motivational speaker and author. Highly dedicated and results-oriented, she has the skill and passion for helping individuals become more confident and successful in business and beyond. She and her company Polished help clients focus on key adjustments that result in meaningful impact and effectiveness.

American Society of Administrative Professionals

Producer of

APCEA Summit  EA Ignite