When you make decisions, what is your process?
Some people I know weigh all the pros and cons.
Others do as much research as they possibly can.
A few seek the advice of others.
And some just use their “gut” reaction.
While the first three are common and wise, the use of the “gut” reaction seems to be the one method we admire in others (who use it successfully of course) and envy.
The good news is we can all build our capacity to have the “gut” method as a possible option too.
What is the “gut” reaction?
It’s the ability to look at a situation and quickly feel the strong urge to apply a solution without really having to think too much about it. This is different than instincts though. Instincts are behaviors that we are pre-disposed to do. It’s the same process that causes animals to automatically migrate at certain times a year and cats to find a litter box to crap in.
People who claim to have a “gut” feeling simply make a decision by seemingly shortcutting a structured decision-making checklist.
But really they don’t shortcut anything. The truce “gut” reaction comes from a wealth of knowledge and experience that stays so close to the surface that it seems be available instantly. Sort of like running in RAM on our computers.
So how do we build our capacity to build our “gut”? Try the 3R™ process:
- Read – Or learn as much as you can. Think of your brain as a magnetic force that will suck up knowledge that you hold near it. The more information, facts, concepts, ideas, and processes you can learn about, the more you can draw from when it comes time to make a fast decision.
- Reflect – When you solve a complicated problem, reflect back on the processes and ideas that you pulled together to do it. Think about where you drew the ideas from. Write down feelings and thoughts you had. List the resources you compiled.
- Ruminate – Ruminating is the act of thinking deeply, almost chewing a bunch of information. This is where, on a regular basis, you take the information from reading and reflecting and saturating your brain with it.
By using the 3R™ method, you can add to your decision-making toolbox and make better, faster decisions when challenges fall in a predictable pattern. It just takes a few minutes each day.
A few cautions though.
- Don’t trust your “gut” until you have a few successes first. Remember, this is a building process.
- Resist the temptation to view every problem in a way you’ve been conditioned to solve it. Things change and don’t always fall in a predictable pattern.
- Don’t get complacent. You “gut” needs to grow constantly. Keep it healthy with new information.
As The Boss, you are expected to make good, fast decisions. Take some time to establish or build your “gut” capacity this week.