Successful career management depends on good decision-making ability. A myriad of approaches can be adopted. These include:
- Planned – Using rational thought to weigh the facts, obtain the necessary information and explore consequences.
- Impulsive – This is the “leap before you look” approach - or giving little thought to the decision before taking action.
- Intuitive – Making the decision based on a “gut feeling” and striving to preserve harmony.
- Compliant – This is when a person is content to let someone else decide and typically does not assert her/his own preferences.
- Delaying – Avoiding thinking about it or taking action. The decision maker procrastinates and hopes that something happens on its own to avoid making a decision.
- Defaulting – “Playing it safe” by choosing the direction with the lowest level of risk.
- Paralytic – Experiencing complete indecision and fear, resulting in the inability to act.
In addition to your decision-making approach, a whole range of influencing factors can also impact you. Influencing factors include:
- External Factors – such as family expectations, responsibilities, cultural pressure, male/female stereotypes and survival needs.
- Internal Factors – such as lack of self-confidence, fear of change, fear of making the wrong decision and fear of ridicule.
Structured Decision Making
You can enhance your career decision making ability by following a structured framework. The five-step process laid out below is a useful method for doing this.
Five Step Process
- Define your goals and list objectives for each goal.
- Gather relevant information.
- Review alternatives.
- Assess likely outcomes as objectively as possible.
- Establish plan of action.
Good decisions are almost always the result of a well thought out process and a willingness to take calculated risks. Understanding this is critical. However, good decision making also requires you to dedicate time to the process and to gather and use lots of information.