Monica Wofford, CSP, is a professional speaker and CEO of Contagious Companies, a training and consulting firm that develops better leaders and trains managers how to become better leaders.

What do you use to decide what to do?

Decisions are part of every leader’s daily routine, but what if you could make them faster, be more efficient, and be more confident about the decisions you make? Here are five ways you can be an even better leader every day, merely by managing how you make your decisions and the decision making methods you use.

List the Pros and Cons

Stuck on a particular decision? Use the logical, Spock like approach and list out your pros and cons. What are all the good things that would happen if you made that decision and what are all the bad things that could happen if you made that same decision. Keep in mind the list could change with even the smallest alteration to how you actually IMPLEMENT that decision.

Ask the 5 Whys

When trying to get to the root of a problem with coaching clients, I’ll sometimes use the 5 Why’s method. The method of making decisions entails asking yourself why you want to do that or feel that way or need to go in that direction. Get your first answer and then dig deeper. Why really? Then ask why again of that second answer and keep going five times until you get to the real root of the issue. Your final answer may change your decision on how to act, or not, and what you do.

Laugh at Tornado Brain

Humor is a powerful antidote to frustration and there are days when the number of things in a leader’s brain feels like the scene in Twister when cows and semis were flying around in the sky. Find your sense of humor, walk away, look up a joke online and let yourself laugh. Tornado brain causes confusion not clarity. Forcing yourself to decide in a cloud of confusion does not produce good results. Laugh a little and clear your head. When the fog lifts, then decide.

Create Categories

Decisions can involve a complex number of factors and complexity creates confusion. Instead, create categories to increase your clarity and narrow your focus. For example, problems in a business are often in one of four areas: product, price, people, or process. If you can determine in which category the problem exists, you can make a decision on just that issue. Then determine how it will affect the others, one category at a time.

Run a Tournament

One of my favorite books is the On-Purpose Person by Kevin McCarthy and in it he refers to a tournament used for prioritization. The same tool can be used in making a decision. Don’t know what to do next? Run a tournament. Draw an even number of blanks on the left side of a page and determine, two by two, down that column, which is the highest priority. Then move one column right and do the same with your first column tournament winners. Keep it going, like a sporting tournament line up of multiple teams and in far less time than a season you’ll have a clear winner that is your highest priority to focus on right now.

Decisions can be complex but hopefully after these five methods, they’ll be made much easier.

I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Happy decision making, Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!


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