Recently I was looking a Ted Talk of Barry Schwartz, where he talks about the paradox of choose. Deciding quickly and deciding well is a must in a world as changing as today, especially in the field of business. Today I want to think about how to decide quickly.

The psychologist Schwartz presents in his lecture the contradiction between the freedom that gives us the possibility to choose, and the dissatisfaction derived from the progressive increase of the current options that hinder the election process.

When the available options are extended, the analysis paralysis increases, which constitutes a very popular leadership pattern, not only in the technical and highly qualified profiles, but also in all the people who work with many variables and in an environment as the current, which we call VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous).

But not only paralysis in action is a consequence of the increase in alternatives, there is also frustration with the choice finally made. The reason is that the personal awareness that what has been chosen, or decided, has not been the best option, because perhaps another alternative would have benefited us more than the first choice.

This especially happens in cases where we have not been fully satisfied with the choice made, which makes the next decision-making process complicate even more, increasing the time of resolution, as well as the energy consumed, which causes us more depletion and we subtract resources to do other things.

How to decide quickly

Deciding quickly is not an easy thing to achieve. It requires practice and a lot of will. But it is worth trying some habits that can make us decide faster. Here are some tips:

  • Limiting the source of information

In order to be able to decide faster, one of the slogans is not to fall into the temptation of wanting to look for all the alternatives or options available. The belief that we have is that, if we look for more, we will find something better. The reality, however, is that we will never be able to have all the options available, because in such a global and hyper-communicated environment, the possibilities, or variables to be considered, are increasing continuously and exponentially.

  • Limiting the time to decide

Another very useful strategy for deciding faster has to do with committing to making a decision within a specific time period. If we do not, we will enter a dynamic of lengthening the decision-making process, with the consequent frustrations and prejudices caused. To master this technique, it will be essential, especially in the beginning, to be very disciplined and obedient in meeting the deadlines, without getting over the allotted time. It is about starting to cultivate the belief that a mediocre choice within the term can become much better than a bright choice out of time.

  • Use of Experts

If the possibilities and alternatives in deciding increase to the point of not being able to control them, and having to devote a lot of time and effort to analyze and study them, it will be advisable also to delegate this first phase of the decision-making process to those people that because of their role, experience, or personality, they are more aware of the range of variables that affect the situation in question. In these cases, it will be good to go to them to help us simplify the process of analysis, and even directly suggest their preferences.

  • Deciding NOT to decide

Sometimes we become obsessed with making a very complicated decision, with multiple consequences and variables to consider, at a certain time, lengthening the process, and causing much suffering to both oneself and the environment. Sometimes the will of the person is not enough to make a choice, so it is not advisable to force things, because there are many variables and impacts that we can not control. Deciding not to decide can be, in some cases, a good choice, because we allow the external system to manifest, altering the circumstances and modifying the original needs, which will allow the process of choice to flow from a sustainable, easy and beneficial way for all stakeholders.

Remember, sometimes LESS IS MORE!

Enric Arola