People want to make the perfect decision. But there is NO such thing as a perfect decision. There can only be decisions that are suitable based on all known facts at the moment the decision is being made.
Decision-makers striving to make perfect decisions generally fail to do so because they fall into a trap of committing one of FOUR DANGEROUS ERRORS in judgement that, in turn, results in disastrous outcomes:
- wait TOO LONG before making a decision and miss valuable time-limited opportunities.
- make decisions TOO QUICKLY by failing to check or account for FORESEEABLE FACTORS that can influence the quality or longevity of opportunities.
- make decisions for the sake of satisfying emotions or for reasons of protecting one’s status. That is, by letting EGO color and influence the facts.
- refuse to ADAPT to changed conditions. Life is filled with unpredictable, unforeseeable events that may arise after decisions are made. The ancients taught us, [I’m paraphrasing]: to always expect that the unexpected can upset our best plans.
Here are just some examples:
- Buying a home built on sedimentary sand in an area known to be earthquake susceptible. The house is high-priced because of the beautiful location and because of money fleeing China, so your decision is to rationalizes that rising prices make the house a good investment. But you fail to seek the facts, including the possibility of earthquakes that will cause liquefaction, (turns quicksand-like).
- Similarly, homes are built along Western coastlines susceptible to earthquakes and Tsunamis. On the West Coast, for example, homes are in some areas resting within earthquake fault zones, the Cascadia Subduction Zone See End note and the San Andreas Fault Line.
- A good-paying job motivates a family to buy a huge house with high mortgage, plus indulge in what I titled in another Nugget, the “Luxury Trap”. The job suddenly disappears due to downsizing and layoffs. The family clings to the home despite no, or too little, income to pay for all the financial outflows including the huge mortgage.
- A person spends a lifetime eating the American diet and suffers one of the nearly-inevitable associated chronic diseases, (long-time to develop). After surviving a by-pass operation, or stroke, or cancer operation, the patient is falsely advised by his or her doctor that nutrition had nothing to do with the cause. So, the patient returns to eating what caused the problem.
In each of the above, the fourth evil manifests itself when people who discover new factors fail to revise their decisions to incorporate those new factors. Though a good decision was a great decision at the time it was made, emerging factors and new circumstances may make that same decision a bad one within the context of the new facts. When factors change, decisions must be re-assessed and also possibly change.
By waiting too long to act, or by ignoring foreseeable factors, or by trying to worship and satisfy the god of EGO, or by ignoring or failing to adapt to changed circumstances, good decisions could become bad decisions.
Foreseeable factors or new events are your INTERVENTION POINTS, warning signs of inevitable outcomes or valuable opportunities.
These four EVILS, (waiting, ignoring, gratifying egos, failing to adapt), in my opinion, is what accounts for increased: bankruptcies, suicides, road rage, crime, stress, disease, and many more problems. Make decisions based on your very best information, consider foreseeable information, too, and make those decisions without influence of ego. Then be forever willing to make changes to those decisions as new information arises.
Guarding against the four decision evils will allow you to approach the making of a perfect decision. But since there are no perfect decisions, always expect to change a decision without the fear of ego or criticism restricting you.
Decision-making evils: waiting too long to act, ignoring the foreseeable, allowing ego to influence facts, and failing to often test for and adapt to change.
When making decisions, you are responsible not only for yourself but for all the stakeholders affected by your decision. By maintaining the utmost integrity, that is, making the decision based on the facts and not on whims or other influences you serve yourself and your stakeholders in the best way possible.
Failure to make the RIGHT decision, devoid of egos and influence, will mislead self and stakeholders.
Making the right decision involves freeing yourself of any constraints imposed by concerns of how stakeholders, be it family members or executives of a corporation, will react. If it is the right decision for the corporation, or the family, then make it and present it. Don’t be influenced by how others will react because they will find it inconvenient or unusual.
Be resilient enough to “handle” the friction, hesitation or outright opposition you will face from your stakeholders.
I’ve bolstered my courage when making decisions by using the following wisdom as my mantra. It may help you to do the same. Allow me to paraphrase this valuable wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita, (a revered Hindu text):
…the lesson comes after the experience.
After considering all the facts after doing sufficient research to uncover foreseeable factors, accept the reality that your decision will be either the right one or the wrong one. If wrong, then, understand that because the “lesson comes after the experience”, you need to correct it. If you do so, and try again, you’ll be one step closer to the “perfect” decision.
- The Cascadia Subduction Zone experiences a massive shift in the tectonic plates every 200 years, on average, creating Richter forces above 9, worse than the Japan earthquake in recent history and worse than what caused the Indonesian Tsunami that killed over 250,000 people. It’s been almost 300 years since the last massive shift. We are overdue for a massive disaster. This is an example of a foreseeable factor. Building homes in that area despite the risks would be an example of a bad decision caused by failure to account for, or failure to seek out, foreseeable factors.