Not making a decision is a decision.
If you always wait for perfection before taking action then you will never do anything. Making a non-decision is great as well – instead of hiding tell some folks – don’t turn yellow, have some courage. People learn from data and without the data (from the decision or non) you’ll never know.
I often use weird terms to describe brainstorming or just thinking on a topic. Spitballing is my version of passing ideas back and forth to build out a topic. Noodling is another term I use describing deep thought usually done alone (in a group it turns into spitballing). Noodling is often referred to in certain circles as weird methods of fishing in which you stand to lose a finger. They are cute terms – they are meant to be. The other terms that describe the decision process sound too official for me and don’t really encourage the creative juices. Why use fun terms? To relieve the pressure on the decision point. Whats the point? To get to a decision – the faster the better. Do something – get the data – adjust. Trying so very hard to make the correct decision makes it seem that life is simple – it’s not. I hereby release you from the pressure, just go for it. Just for fun I tried to create a acronym to keep these in mind. Make PURFECT decisions
Perfection is the enemy of the good enough – having doubts doesn’t mean a decision can’t be made. Some people get into a holding pattern and literally wait on an authority figure to tell them they reached the right decision and it’s approved. I’ve never met an exec where I’ve said – that test sucked and here is what we are doing to fix it, that doesn’t appreciate it. Check out the Pareto principle.
Understand that some decisions won’t make sense to people that don’t have context. Transparency equals Trust. Decisions are always tests but not all tests are decisions. Try something crazy like direct mail with an on-line component. Most people don’t get B2B direct mail anymore. High probability of an open? I don’t know test it.
Rationalization is for cowards. Recognize that poor decisions happen and take emotion out of it – do not kid yourself. Rely on the data and facts and be able to ‘back up’ your decision. Use the data for inspection and adjustment to achieve the goal.
Facts are friendly when looking at your decisions. Always review the data. Making the same mistakes because of failure to learn from what happened is pretty common. People don’t like to admit they fail at the same thing over and over because they don’t have the guts to disassociate their ego from the data.
Ego is your enemy. Just because you thought of it, have done it before, or “that’s the way it is” doesn’t mean its right or the best for now. Envision your decision implemented in the situation or issue you’re trying to solve. Be creative and look for the unknowns while weighing the pros and cons on context of the goals. It’s not about you.
Consider how much you need reference-ability as it mitigates risk and the fear of making an entirely independent decision. References don’t have to be an exact contextual match, if there is a particular component to the decision, you can base it on that. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be a trailblazer as your policy of test and learn trumps reference-ability.
Trust your instincts. Your experience counts so don’t always insist on logical reasons – as you’re trying to creatively problem solve. Intuitive decision making works really well when emotion isn’t allowed skew the result.