Effective Decision Making

Effective decision-making is not always an easy task. Throughout the course of our personal and professional lives, I’m sure we’ve all made decisions we regret, but, when we understand what drives our decision-making framework, we will be able to confidently move forward and make progress.

Annie Duke, a World Series of Poker champion turned business consultant, believes it is essential to get rid of our constant need for certainty and instead, replace it with a habit of accurately assessing what we know and what we don’t know. Ultimately, by doing this, we will be less vulnerable to biases and destructive habits in our decision making.

In order to be successful, Duke believes we need to constantly determine and evaluate which decisions we make, which habits we have, and which words we say. If we don’t intentionally do this, we are simply left with results after the fact. To put it simply, we get lucky in negotiations rather than utilizing our skillset.

Duke states it is essential to evaluate the influences of luck in decision-making and negotiating. Sometimes, things turn out poorly because it’s something we don’t have control over. In any situation, we need to get a clear view of what the influence of luck on the outcome is likely to be.

She also believes we need to ask ourselves, “How are the decisions I am making influencing the probability of things going sideways?” We need to assess what our reactions will be in order to be responsive and nimble in our decision-making. Overall, this will allow us to create superior strategic plans.

Duke also delves into the fact that, as humans, we are prone to believe whatever we’re told, especially if it comes from a figure of authority. She explains that often, we get caught in a “truth cycle” where we don’t validate the information we’re being told. However, it’s our job as negotiators to objectively assess every piece of information we are given. In doing this, it’s crucial we fact-check and evaluate the details to ensure we are receivers of facts rather than opinions.

In order to improve our decision quality, Duke explains we need to enter a period of self-evaluation. We need to think about our own beliefs and predictions and frame them in an objective way. She also believes decision-making should never be a process that is done completely alone. A mind is a terrible thing to waste — utilize the people around you. Lastly, Duke states that as negotiators, we should have a group of people that holds us accountable to what our best-laid plans are.

I believe making better decisions and improving negotiation quality go hand-in-hand. As negotiators, it’s crucial we take a step back and analyze what goes on behind the scenes of our everyday decision-making. In order to make significant advancements, we need to check-in with our emotions and biases to make sure we are not leading ourselves astray.

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