Three Ways to Improve Decision-Making

In his new book Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most, author Steven Johnson offers case studies on some of life’s most important decisions and examines the process behind them, according to an article in Inc.

In business settings, Johnson argues, there are often more tools at your disposal than you may be aware of. He outlines three steps he suggests including as part of making any significant decision:

  1. Don’t be too decisive: Johnson says that business leaders often make the mistake of being overconfident in their decision-making process. Citing the work of management professor Paul Nutt, Johnson contends that even if you have a strong gut feeling it’s best to take a week not to make a decision.
  2. Involve other perspectives: Studies show that “cognitively diverse groups make both better and more inventive decisions.” Johnson asserts that complex problems typically involve more angles that you “cannot see from one perspective.”
  3. Conduct a “pre-mortem”: Johnson suggests applying a concept that visualizes the inverse of a successful outcome—that is, asking yourself, “What does the future look like if it completely flops?” In so doing, he argues, “individuals and teams also open themselves up to a more creative process where they can see flaws they might have otherwise overlooked.”