Every day decisions are made. Some decisions are simple while others are complicated. Nevertheless, making the “right” decision can be crucial. This is especially true when developing our shared goals. The task can be daunting. Using an effective technique can be helpful to ensure our final decision is the best one for our purposes. That’s why I recommend, “Draw it out.”
As children, we would draw and share pictures before we learned to write. In our mind’s eye we captured and created images on paper when we didn’t have the words. This informal mode of communication gave clarity and meaning to others so they could share in the events of our life.
When faced with decisions today as adults, using a flowchart or decision tree can be extremely beneficial in seeing at a glance the options available. Like a roadmap you can decipher which is the best route to travel once you examine all the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Having a visual aid, like a flowchart or a decision tree, allows you to preview your decision the same way you preview a movie before you decide to watch the entire movie.
Four Reasons to Draw “It” Out
We all have an “it”. The word “it” appears abstract on paper while standing alone in print. However, in real life, “it” represents “something” in your life. You are confronted with a decision or problem which requires action. How you proceed is often tricky. Whether we are talking about an expansion for your business, an appropriate succession plan, or tax-planning strategy, there are consequences for every move. Drawing “it” out allows you to…
1. LET IT OUT. Our minds are so crowded and clouded by different perspectives and processes that our thoughts have a tendency to clash. Different views and facts dominate logical reasoning, leaving us utterly confused. The dialogue in our heads may go something like this: “We could do it this way.” “They suggested doing it that way!” “Now we don’t know which way is best.” Drawing the various options on paper allows your ideas and thoughts to get out of “your head”.
2. TALK ABOUT IT. Making decisions can affect many individuals in a family business. When the options are drawn out in colour rather than “black and white”, then everyone who needs to be involved in the decision-making process can add insight and reasons why one decision is preferred over another. Since no one can read your mind, putting your ideas and thoughts on paper is the next best thing.
3. DEAL WITH IT. My Dad always used to say, “Don’t worry. Let the horse worry. He has a bigger head.” My Dad was right. The horse does have a bigger head. However, this bit of advice didn’t stop people from worrying. When you handle any problem, you are freeing yourself from worry. It’s your action that conquers the problem. When you use a flowchart or decision tree, you are discovering possible solutions to your present day dilemma. This strategy creates action steps to kill the worry and the problem.
4. FIGURE IT OUT. Quite often we can become so focused on using only one approach that we don’t allow other possibilities to enter our mind. When you map out possible options you may be surprised to uncover others you never considered. This brainstorming technique allows light to shine on other strategies to help with making a decision to proceed or not, solving a problem, or determining the best strategy.
Your “Decision Tree” doesn’t have to be “pretty” to be effective. I believe the process of getting the job done is far more important than how the diagram looks. If any tool or gadget can bring clarity to your situation and work to make your life easier, then you will be extremely happy and content in using it. In my world, I find this is the case with these tools. Consider MindTools® resources for Decision Trees or Flow Charts. Get excited and pumped about working with these. If you are interested in other related resources, Mr. or Mrs. Google can provide value references.