Decision Making Questions You Can Use Today
If you haven’t already encountered this, you will do at some point in your management career. Indeed, you might be doing this already – not making a decision on an important matter.
Indecision Is A Decision
At work, there is likely to be an occasion or two when you want to get a decision from someone. It could be a commitment from a person who is performing below par and needs to raise their game, or your boss who has a hundred different decisions to make, and bosses to please, so the decision you require keeps getting delayed.
Here are a few questions you can ask to help someone making a (good) decision.
‘What information do you require (from me or from elsewhere) to make a decision now/today?’
This question helps the person think about what they need, not what you are offering and helps them be more response-able for their thinking.‘If you had already made the most appropriate decision on this (subject) what information, data and other factors would you have considered to reach your decision?’
This question puts them in the position of having already made the decision and takes a different thinking position. Acting ‘AS IF‘ is a very effective thinking technique.‘Could you please help me understand what stops you from making a decision/approving my decision?’
This question helps to unblock thinking and may draw out sensitive information or even a blind spot.‘If your Manager was advising you of what decision to make that was good for all stakeholders, what would s/he recommend to you?’
This question gets the person to consider what their boss would appreciate and disapprove of. Bear in mind, people often comply with authority, so it’s essential the decision is not made purely on position in a structure chart.
‘What currently stops you from making a good decision now?’
You may find that their indecision relates to an internal issue such as ‘I’m not feeling confident‘ or ‘If I get this decision wrong, my boss will go crazy‘, or it could be an external decision such as ‘The data I need to make a good decision isn’t yet available‘ or ‘The deadline is still two hours away so I’m going to wait’. When you have identified whether it’s an internal or external motivating factor, you can explore the reason/s in more detail.
‘What would your most trusted colleague advise you to do if s/he was aware of this situation and your indecision?‘
This question creates some head space for your colleague. Instead of asking ‘What are you doing to do?’, the question relates to a trusted third-party. When the trusted third-party becomes involved, your colleague will be able to view their situation or predicament more clearly, and with less emotion and fear.
Help People Think For Themselves
An unwillingness to make a decision is a decision in itself. If you are to help people make better quality decisions, and more quickly, you must provide them with the time and space to think for themselves.