How to Make Better Decisions

An international leadership guru explains the differences between being short-term "smart" and big-picture "wise".

learn more about Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D

By Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Making choices is difficult and it is more challenging for chief executives as they must decide under constant pressure and constraints.

At times moves must be made without adequate information. CEOs are confronted with complex organizational issues and expected to formulate opinions based on their education, experience, expertise and intuition.

Better decision-making

A decision is a thought or idea put into action which is usually irrevocable. It takes energy, effort, money and time. There is no guarantee that it will be successful. Some people make quick choices, others make methodical ones and some don't make any decisions at all.

Draw on paper whatever ideas pop up to create various permutations, connect the dots between thoughts that don't appear to have anything in common and link the issue with the dots while visualizing the possibility of creating alternatives.

Explore scenarios to achieve desired outcomes. Daydream and change your surroundings. Identify the place and space where your mind will be free to create new ideas. Think differently to address the issue. Convert every threat into an opportunity.
Related: 6 Key Things to Consider When Bringing a Product to Market

A blueprint to being bold

Prepare Plan A, B, C, D and so on.

Convince yourself as to which decision is most feasible. Never regret your move because you have made if based on the best information at a particular point in time.

Consult more people to acquire more ideas. Don't get into the paralysis of analysis or excessively brood over the problem. Once convinced of your choice, make a call without any procrastination.

Avoid making decisions in anger and sleep over the problem. When you go to bed by thinking about the issue, it goes to your subconscious mind, which automatically searches for solutions. When ideas don't get bolder within your brain, take a break and allow your subconscious self to search for suitable alternatives.

Think of repercussions before implementing your idea. Delay the decision when there is a possibility of more damage to others. Look at the underlying reasons, factors and forces that enable you to arrive at the right solution.
Related: Are You Coming Across as Authentic?

Simple CEO strategies

Conventional decision-making is analyzing alternatives, making choices among available options and ultimately selecting a course of action.

In contrast, unconventional thinking involves a series of iterative steps individuals take to generate insights, reframe their challenges, develop new ideas and determine a course of action in pursuit of new sources of value while constantly being aware of the ever-changing roles between bosses and employees.

To that end, a poll on behalf of Motivosity showed that 65% of office workers surveyed think they could do their job more effectively if they had a better boss while 66% admitted the pandemic has negatively affected their relationship with higher ups to the point where 52% revealed they're actively looking for a new role because of their managers.

Here are some final tools to make smarter decisions while avoiding the above stats...

1) Avoid preconceived notions and biases.

2) Decide the right stakeholders to be involved in the decision-making process and use appropriate decision-making tools that fit the situation.

3) Brainstorm heavily to create the best fixes while understanding the pros and cons of each solution.

Acquire knowledge, skills and abilities to make your decisions under uncertainty and constraints. In this age of disruption, distraction and disturbance you must rely on your intuition and have the guts to make your decisions with a weighted "wisely" rather than a seemingly-efficient "smartly".
Related: This Is the Secret Weapon That No Competitor Can Take From You

Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D

Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer


Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D. is the Father of “Soft Leadership” and founder of MSR Leadership Consultants, India. He is an International Leadership Guru with forty years of experience and the author of over fifty books including the award-winning ‘See the Light in You.’ Email:

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