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Steve Isenberg

Strategies to Promote Better Decision-Making in 2020

Posted on: May 19, 2020

By: Steve Isenberg

“YOU decide what your limits are, and YOU decide your level of success. You are responsible for the time that you spend on this planet.” – Les Brown

Dozens of decisions bombard us every day. From the simple choices – like what to wear or eat for breakfast, or whether to take the stairs or elevator – to the more complex such as a myriad of workplace decisions. All of this “adulting” amounts to as many as 35,000 decisions each day. Is it any wonder we often feel overwhelmed and exhausted?

Life in the 21st century finds us caught between the wonder of having all the information we could ever dream of at the tip of our fingers and the overload of being surrounded by all that incredible information. Too much information can deplete our cognitive resources, making it more challenging to make those 35,000 daily decisions.

Minimalist Prince Ghuman, the co-founder of 15Center and professor of Neuromarketing, says, “When it comes to making decisions, our brain functions in two modes. One mode is largely automatic; it makes reactive decisions based on intuition. The second mode is deliberate; it makes rational, analytical decisions.” But that second mode is finite, he explains, noting, “We can only make so many logical decisions before the tank is empty.”

Learning to “switch off the information flow” can help save our cognitive resources. For instance, Science writer Sharon Begley, writing in Newsweekadvises, “Dealing with emails and texts in batches, rather than in real-time; that should let your unconscious decision-making system kick in. Avoid the trap of thinking that a decision requiring you to assess a lot of complex information is best made methodically and consciously. You will do better, and regret less, if you let your unconscious turn it over by removing yourself from the info flux.” 

Decisions and the Staffing Industry

The nature of today’s candidate-driven job market dictates that staffing firms operate with a higher degree of forward-thinking and efficiency than ever before. And effective decision-making must be part of that structure.

“Regardless of the industry, level of job opening or labor market conditions, the job search, and selection process are all about decision making – on both sides of the desk,” notes the folks at AIRS Powered by ADP. “Candidates must decide to apply and interview. Recruiters must decide which candidates to phone screen and present to the hiring managers. Hiring managers must decide who to meet and what to ask.”

And all of this among so many other choices that impact both the daily operations and the long-term future of the company. Since withdrawing from the “choices game” is not an option, your best bet is to focus on sharpening this crucial skillset with these strategic tools.

  • A core values deep dive

You know the company’s core values and your own, of course, you do. But do you really know them? In light of the present-day scenarios facing the company? While the values haven’t changed over time, the way those values impact decisions can change. Why? Because things that were once non-issues may now be issues. Variables that once remained static may have shifted. Maybe it’s been some time since you sat down with a written copy of the company’s core values and applied them directly, specifically to today’s immediate challenges. Grab a cup of coffee and a pen for a deep dive into who you are as a company, and how that should impact every size and variety of decisions.

  • Be aware of the “Law of Small Numbers” 

Of course, we base decisions, in part, on our own past experiences. Why wouldn’t we? But without the recognition that a more extensive “sample” of experiences will provide a different, often more realistic view of options, outcomes, and probabilities, this practice can be hazardous to effective decision-making. But if you consciously make a habit of seeking beyond the scope of your limited experiences, the additional insights can’t help but add dimension to your decision-making efforts.

  • Identify risk-taking behavior

“Familiarity breeds comfort,” says Amy Morin, LCSW. “And there’s a good chance you make some poor decisions simply because you’ve grown accustomed to your habits and you don’t think about the danger you’re in, or the harm you’re causing.”

“It’s never been a problem before . . . ” or “We’ll worry about that if and when . . . down the road” or another such rationale that chooses to ignore measurable risks can become a trap. While such lulled thinking may on the surface make for easier decision-making, easier doesn’t necessarily translate into best-in-the-long-run decisions. Pave the way for wiser, better decisions to happen with an evaluation to pinpoint where too much caution has been thrown to the proverbial wind.

Let ASJ Partners take the guesswork out of advertising decisions with a comprehensive marketing strategy uniquely customized for your staffing firm’s needs. Our team of specialists are experts at every facet of 21st-century marketing techniques. Begin with a consultation to see how our extensive experience can work for you.


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