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Have a Minute? Sharpen Your Decision Making Skills

1 Minute Skills: Making Decisions

The ability to make decisions is a crucial skill for working in all types of organizations and roles, from entry level to the C-suite. Employers recognize that smart decision-making skills demonstrate leadership potential, efficiency and sound professional judgment. In fact, effective decision making is one of the most important skills for advancing your career.

So how can you learn to make better decisions? Here are three quick techniques:

#1. Start with a framework.

Forbes recommends performing a “situation analysis” before settling on any decision, whereby you ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is motivating the need for a decision?
  • What would happen if no decision is made?
  • Who will the decision impact (both directly and indirectly)?
  • What data, analytics, research or supporting information do you have to validate the inclinations driving your decision?

Answering these questions honestly will lead to a more rational outcome.

#2. Follow the one-minute rule.

How better to learn about making decisions in one minute than to practice making one-minute decisions? (Perhaps you’ll need an extra minute to let that sink in.) This is a skill that’s often necessary in the corporate world when responding to emergencies or meeting tight deadlines. The best way to get your mind racing is to give yourself a strict time limit. Next time you need to make a decision – whether personal or professional – set one minute on the clock. This will speed up your ability to assess pros and cons and come to timely but sensible verdicts.

#3. Visit the worst-case scenario – briefly.

What’s the worst that can happen? You’ve weighed all information to make the best possible decision. But often, with all the variables and risks involved in your plan, the outcome may not be exactly as you intended. Remember that there is often no right or wrong answer and that making mistakes is a natural part of the process. That said, don’t overthink it. Arriving at a decision may seem less overwhelming if you narrow your focus for a moment – for instance, by thinking only of the black and white (good or bad) outcomes, or of the short-term results rather than the big picture.

Does your next big decision revolve around what to do after graduating? For those studying economics, the Brandeis International Business School (IBS) Accelerated MA program allows you to earn a master’s degree in just one year after finishing your bachelor’s. Priority application deadline March 15th

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