Tough Decisions Made Easier

Making decisions can be tough. And this is exacerbated to day by the plethora of choices we must make on a regular basis! It's always in our face!

So, whether it's choosing a flavor of ice cream, or a paint color for your room, the real question is, "How can I limit these options and still be satisfied that I've made a great choice?"

For me, many choices are very easy. It's chocolate chip ice cream...or a decaf latte with skim milk. these are the no-brainers, the ones I feel satisfied with and stick with over time.

But other choices are hard to make, especially when I simply don't know a lot about the options. I can obtain more information...but it's rarely ever enough or of good enough quality.

As a leader, you need to learn to cope with the limited information dilemma by learning to use your gut - when your head craves for more information.

In his book "Blink", Malcolm Gladwell talks about a sort of sixth sense, or "gut", that you can hone. Gladwell expounded on the example of forged paintings, where experts were convinced that certain paintings were not genuine originals, but they could not prove it with hard information. However, because of their deep training and expertise, they could look in a "blink" and draw on their gut feeling to make the judgment as to authenticity of a painting.

This idea of being able to tell in a blink - of being able to use your gut like a sixth sense - is, I think, a key to becoming a more effective decision maker. The secret, as for the experts in Gladwell's story, is to develop finely trained eyes, honed by deep study and experience over time, whatever your field. As you do, you will become more able to draw on that sixth sense and make judgments in a blink. You can learn to trust that you are not rushing to judgment, not acting irrationally.

In the field of project management, like fine art paintings, you can develop the sixth sense for what might be wrong on a troubled project, that one key factor for project success, whether someone will fit on your team, which stakeholders are critical to your project's success,...or a plethora of other things.

Many PMs tend to be "left-brained", or dominated by cognitive processes. This tends to be counter to "right brained", or creative activities, or activities that can allow you to make decisions "from your gut". You can actually use your left brain strength to build right brain strength, or the ability to use your gut as well as your head!

To develop that sixth sense in the project management field...that will enable you to confidently make decisions using your gut in addition to your head...you need to hone your PM skills over time through both experience and study, just like the fine art experts.

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