Do you ever feel stuck in the land of "I don't know what to do?" If you are a leader, you might feel this is exactly where you live. Every day is full of decisions—some big, some small—but they all have to be made. Making decisions with confidence can be a struggle for many of us. Consider these statistics:
Women spend 30 percent more time than men questioning their own decisions.
Women identify lack of confidence in decision making as the number one contributor to leadership insecurity.
Women invest 37 percent more time than men do in second-guessing themselves after the decision is made.
Follow the formula
So how can you get better at making decisions? In our book, Just Lead!, Jenni Catron and I tackle how to develop confidence in decision-making. Some of the decisions you face are easy and can be made quickly, but for those weightier ones, here's a formula Jenni and I both use:
1. Identify the problem.
Before I joined MOPS International, I had the privilege of working for Leadership Network, an organization based in Dallas that helps church leaders develop their leadership skills by identifying areas of growth and potential in their ministry and in themselves. In researching innovation (which involves making decisions about which ideas to pursue), it was clear that a huge roadblock to innovation and problem solving is that many times we are focusing on the wrong problem. In other words, what we think is the problem is not really the problem.
Consider a particular issue that needs a decision. Is it possible you've muddied the core issue with other things that don't need to be fixed or solved? (For example, have you assumed the cost of an event is the barrier for attendance when really it is the date?) Or are your emotions getting in the way of clarifying what the problem really is? (For example, are you invested in an idea that just won't work, but no one wants to admit it?) If you can't clearly identify the problem in one sentence, you're not ready to solve it yet. This means you need some more thinking time. It might also be helpful to get clarity on what the issue really is by talking it out with someone who is not directly involved.
2. Investigate it.
This step can really eat up your time, but it saves you from getting into trouble later. Do you know the history of the situation? Have you investigated what has already been tried and why it failed? Ask. Talk it out. Look at the situation from all angles and try to picture the results of each option.