“On an important decision one rarely has 100% of the information needed for a good decision no matter how much one spends or how long one waits. And, if one waits too long, he has a different problem and has to start all over. This is the terrible dilemma of the hesitant decision maker.” Robert K. Greenleaf, Servant as Leader (Robert K Greenleaf Center, 1982).
Decision-making can be a crippling endeavor for many; causing an indefinite pause. While others will run with the old adage of follow your instincts; trusting entirely in their emotions to interpret the situation on a deeper level. Instead of operating on either extreme, perhaps there is a middle ground where decisions can be made more articulately. Find the balance between intuition and reason:
1: Weigh the Risk
How much time and expense will the decision cost, both for implementing and recovering? Smaller-risk decisions can be a good measure for following a hunch. When the stakes get higher it would be time for a more analytical decision mode.
2: Gauge Your Emotion
It is human nature for emotions and instincts to rule. Examine your feelings that are directing your instincts. Our need to make quick decisions can be driven by fear, anger or other negative emotions. Wait for these strong emotions to pass before making a choice. If you still feel the same way, then make the decision when your mind has cleared.
3: Test for FOMO
The fear-of-missing-out syndrome is surprisingly common. Another emotionally driven choice leads people to quickly jump on board of newest, latest, greatest. Even when you’re confident this is strictly a logical choice, make sure your fear is not driving this decision. Whether you feel pressure to adapt your business strategy or change your investments, be sure there is solid evidence supporting this change.
4: Recurring Intuition
Your instincts keep bringing the same idea to the surface. Emotions and fear have passed and there is enough risk to merit your hesitance, but you are still not able to shake the hunch. It may be time to look at ways to mitigate the risk through market research, big data analysis or a strategic partnership. Commitment to an idea or action may be all it takes to make something revolutionary work; even when all other indicators show it to be the wrong thing at the wrong time.
In the end, a business leader must trust their instincts. Creating the world of tomorrow requires a vision of what is not possible today.