4 Steps to Effective Decision-Making

Taking your PICK™

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

To all those of you who took a well-deserved break, let me welcome you back! You know, there is an interesting piece of statistics I always think about when it comes to September: September is the month when people make the most decisions. It’s not January despite that month’s association with New Year’s Resolutions. Rather, it seems that a lot of us take the time to reflect during a summer break and in September, we decide to do something about our fitness and join a gym, or to stop smoking or to really start looking for a new house.

So, with September being a bit ‘Decision-Making Month’, I thought I would talk to you about the process of decision-making so that you can self-assess how you go about making decisions today and see whether tweaking your approach could help be even more effective.

So, in the rest of this video, I will share with you the PICK™ model which is a 4-step approach to making effective decisions. PICK™ is also quite unique because you can use it in a number of ways to suit your style: it is a flexible approach which anyone can use and yet a robust method too.
Here goes:

‘P’ is for ‘Perceive’

The first two letters of the PICK™ model are about what we take in as input for our decision-making. When we perceive, we use our five senses to gather data: what we can see and hear predominantly, but also what we can smell, touch and taste. We also focus on facts and figures – hard data. We want to keep it real as well as realistic. We let our past inform us in terms of drawing on similar experiences in order to avoid having to re-invent the wheel.

‘I’ is for ‘Imagine’

With ‘I’, we leave the realm of the perceptible for that of the hidden. Here, we approach reality and information-gathering from a more intuitive point of view. With ‘I’, it’s OK to have hunches. It’s like having a third eye which sees through to less visible connections between the problem at hand and other kinds of challenges.

Some people will prefer to perceive reality while others will be more intuitive about it. What is your preferred approach to information-gathering? Do you like to be given specific information as the starting point for your decision-making process? And if, so, is there a risk that by becoming absorbed in data, you might lose the forest for the trees? Do you see how, once you have gathered the facts of the case, taking a different approach, one which facilitates more creative thinking could add value?

Conversely, are you someone who will say about a situation: “This looks like…” rather than proceed to describe it. Let me illustrate the difference between perceiving and imagining by asking you to think of an apple. When we perceive the apple, we talk about its colour, its shape and its taste. When we imagine it, we leap to a thought of New York, also known as the Big Apple. Or we remember the childhood tale of William Tell, the expert marksman with the crossbow who shot an apple off the head of his son, thus saving him from execution.

Perceiving and imagining are two complementary approaches to reality and, while everyone will have a preference for one or the other, combining them will afford you the more complete picture.

‘C’ is for ‘Consider’

The last two letters of the PICK™ model are about how we use the information we have gathered as input and process it to arrive at our decision. Here again, broadly two approaches. With ‘consider’, we take facts and look for causes and effects. We apply logic and an analytical turn of mind. We produce options and make a selection having weighed the relative costs and benefits.

‘K’ is for ‘Kin’

‘Kin’ as in ‘next of kin’ because this approach is one that considers the impact on people. Both one the self and on others. It will look for decisions that will be accepted by others. Decisions that will not hurt others. In this mode, one’s personal values come to the fore about what one really believes in, such as collegiality, teamwork, integrity.

Let me illustrate again the difference between these two approaches. Imagine a friend calls you because they’ve just come home to find their house burgled. You rush to their home… What do you do first? If you like to ‘consider’, yours will be a helpful and pragmatic approach: you will first make sure the thief isn’t still on the premises and, having secured the house, you will call the police. Then you will go and make your friend a cup of tea.

If your approach is more around the impact on others, then you are likely to first rush to your friend’s side, give them a hug or hold their hand, sit by their side while they calm down. You want to show you care and sympathise. You are supportive. You will probably make the tea first and, having ascertained that your friend is coping, you will then call the police.

Both types of approaches will lead the individual helping their friend to call the police. But what they focus on first is different because how they process the situation is driven by different motivators. There is no right or wrong: both approaches are highly worthwhile. In fact, combining them is the better approach. So, if you prefer one mode, let me encourage you to use the other one as well. That way, not only will you consider your data logically and come to a reasoned decision but you will also ensure your decision does not negatively affect others. Conversely, you will not just make a decision people will support but one which can be rationally defended and is good for the P&L.

Now I said at the beginning of this article / video that it is possible to use PICK™ in a variety of ways and this is because we all have a preferred approach to making decisions. For instance, if you are someone who likes to gather all the relevant data before making a decision, you will naturally ‘perceive’. Let me encourage you to also embrace the benefits of the ‘imagine’ mode. Your decision-making journey starts with ‘P’ and continues to ‘I’. Then, once the information gathering phase concludes, you set about deciding wanting your decision to be one which will be positive for people. Your next stop is therefore ‘K’. You add a logical test to your decision-making process and your journey thus ends with ‘C’. For you, PICK™ became PIKC. Here are the four possible ways to PICK™:

There you have it: a flexible yet robust process to make decisions where you get to PICK™ your decision-making journey, combining elements which come naturally to you but possibly also now integrating a wider perspective, whether it comes to gathering information or actually deciding.

I’d love to hear what you thought of PICK™. How do you go about making decisions? Are you happy with your process? Are there times when it might work less well? If so, I hope PICK™ can be of use.

If this article resonated with you, don’t hesitate to contact me for a chat where we would explore what is going on for you and what you would like to have happen. To contact me, click here.

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