A simple know-think-do framework can work wonders.
A simple know-think-do framework can work wonders.
In her recent HBR article “Transient Advantage,” Rita Gunther McGrath describes how “fast and roughly right decision making will replace deliberations that are precise and slow.” While most leaders couldn’t agree more, the challenge is how? How do you know the difference between “roughly right” and “not at all right”? And just how much time can elapse before “fast and roughly right” becomes “precise and slow?” Hours? Days? Months?
A simple, flexible Know-Think-Do framework can enable leaders and their teams to immediately start making these fast and roughly right decisions. To paraphrase Einstein, this framework is “as simple as possible, but not simpler.”
1. Know the ultimate strategic objective. The biggest hurdle to fast and roughly right decisions is criteria overload. Trying to weigh every possible objective and consideration from every possible stakeholder shoots the decision process in the foot before you even get off the starting line. Of the seven or eight possible objectives you would love to meet with this single decision, which one or two will make the biggest positive impact? Of all the possible stakeholders which one do you least want to disappoint, and what is the objective they care most about?
2. Think rationally about how your options align the ultimate objective. The vast majority of judgment errors can be eliminated simply by broadening our frame of reference. The quickest, easiest, most effective way to do this is by “consulting an Anti-You” before you make every decision. As one banking executive explained, “It’s amazing how many poor decisions can be avoided simply by asking one other person for their opinion.” An impressive amount of empirical research backs up his observation. (The article “How Decisions Can Be Improved,” spearheaded by Katherine Milkman of Wharton, provides an excellent summary. [PDF])
Consulting an anti-you works in two ways. The act of explaining your situation to another person often gives you new insights about the decision before the other person even responds. And the fresh perspective they offer in response is the second bonus.
3. Do something with that knowledge and those thoughts. After you’ve clearly defined the primary strategic objectives and laid out your research and thinking with one or two key Anti-You’s, it’s time to call it quits on all of the planning, strategizing, number-crunching, and critical thinking. You simply must select one option while letting go of all the other “good” options. It is helpful to remember here that in the real world, “perfect” options are a myth. Decision-making will always be an exercise in coping with an unknowable future. No amount of deliberation can ever guarantee that you have identified the “right” option. The purpose of a decision is not to find the perfect option. The purpose of a decision is to get you to the next decision.
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What makes the Know-Think-Do framework particularly powerful for organizations ranging from tiny startups to behemoth banks and software makers is it’s scalability across every level of an organizational hierarchy. For example, a “fast and roughly right decision” might mean two weeks for the division heads at a Fortune 500 bank to decide how to remain competitive while also being compliant with a new government regulation. Or “fast and roughly right” might mean no more than 20-30 minutes for sales managers at the same bank’s commercial lending team in Chicago trying to make a customer account decision.
Regardless of where you are or how big you are, this framework enables all corners of an org chart can share a common language and approach for making sound, timely decisions. So get started.
It’s not easy, but it works.
This essay is adapted from The Healthy Mind Toolkit by Alice Boyes, PhD, a former clinical psychologist turned writer.
If you have anxiety, this will come as no surprise: Anxious people tend to overthink things, even the little stuff—like how to phrase an email to the boss, or what shade of white to paint the kitchen. No matter how minor the decision, we dutifully run through the options, weighing the pros and cons of each. And then after the decision has been made, we’ll ruminate about whether it was in fact the right one.
Why do we put ourselves through all that mental labor? It’s because anxious people are highly motivated to make the “right” decisions, keep everyone happy, and avoid the potential for unpleasant emotions like regret, guilt, or doubt. This is actually a strength, provided you channel it towards your most important choices.
But when you’re in the habit of overthinking almost every little thing, you can lose sight of the bigger picture. And the pattern tends to get worse with time. The more we overthink, the more we believe overthinking is essential to making smart choices.
So how can you convince your brain otherwise?
Overcoming anxiety isn’t about telling yourself that bad things won’t happen, or that things won’t go wrong—because the truth is, adverse experiences happen to everyone from time to time. Instead, it’s more useful to learn that you can cope when your decisions don’t turn out perfectly.
One way to do that is to practice making faster decisions. It will likely feel uncomfortable at first, but it’s worth trying, because it can help you quickly gain confidence in your capacity to tolerate disappointment and setbacks when things don’t turn out the way you hoped. Here are a few tips to help you get started.
Keep track of your wins
As you get more experience making quick decisions, you’ll learn they’re just as likely to produce great outcomes as the decisions you angst over. In the meantime, try this experiment: Look around your home at some of your favorite possessions (clothing, tools, kitchen gadgets, electronics, etc). Which of these items did you buy somewhat impulsively? And which purchases were made after exhaustive research? What you’ll probably discover is that while many beloved items were carefully chosen, you bought just as many on a whim.
Notice your instinct to avoid risk
People who are prone to anxiety tend to avoid even minimal doses of risk. Say you’re waffling over whether to send a Facebook friend request to someone you met briefly. Or you’re tempted to try a new yoga class but feel hesitant. In the first scenario, a fear of rejection may be getting in your way. In the second, a fear of disappointment could be holding your back. But the reality is, in both scenarios there’s actually very little downside to taking action. Try asking yourself, “What do I really have to lose?”
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Develop some rules of thumb
This is my favorite way to facilitate faster decision-making. One rule of thumb I use for prioritizing: Always do tasks that are worth $100 or more before tasks that are worth less. I apply this principle to both work and personal tasks. For example, if I need to return an item that cost more than $100, I’ll make it a priority on my to-do list. This helps me focus on the big picture first, and stops me from spending too much time and energy on the process of prioritizing itself.
Another rule I use: Don’t sweat about $10 or less. If I’m in Target holding an item, I might wonder, “Would this be cheaper at Walmart?” Unless it seems plausible that the difference in price would be greater than $10, I’ll just go ahead and buy the item. I won’t jump on my phone to comparison shop, and delay a decision over a small amount of money.
You can develop your own set of rules that work for you. They won’t always lead to perfect outcomes, and you will mildly regret some of your speedier choices. But you’ll soon learn that you can cope with that mild regret, and move on. And without all those small decisions cluttering up your thoughts, you’ll have more mental space to devote to the stuff that really matters.
Alice Boyes, PhD, is the author of the The Healthy Mind Toolkit and The Anxiety Toolkit, and a frequent blogger for Psychology Today. Her research has been published by the American Psychological Association.
What makes big decisions so hard? As a decision coach, I see many people struggle with tough choices, because they really, really want to have no regrets.
While I’ve never met anyone who felt they got it right 100% of the time, going back to the basics can help you get clear on what you want and feel better about moving forward.
Here are five simple strategies I’ve learned for lessening the odds that you’ll look back and wish you did it differently.
1. You’ve Got to Collect All the Information
The first step is research. If you make a decision without the proper information—like joining a company without learning what the culture is really like—you’re setting yourself up for disappointment later on when you learn something that would’ve made a difference.
Putting the time in on the front end means fewer chances for regret down the line. You don’t want to be thinking, “If only I’d checked out the website more closely!” or “I should’ve asked that in my interview!” You want to be thinking, “I did my research and made the best decision I could.”
2. You’ve Got to Chill Out
Making a choice is stressful by nature, but doing it from a place of calm consideration lowers your chance of making the wrong one. That’s because the calmer you are, the less likely you are to make a hasty, emotional decision.
Try to get into a relaxed state of mind, remove any stressors—including people—from the room, and think through your decision with a clear head and an open mind. Don’t rush, don’t freak out; instead, take deep breaths and think about the facts.
If you’re not in the right state, ask yourself if you have to weigh your options right then, or if you can wait until a better time (i.e., “sleeping on it” usually helps).
3. You’ve Got to Know All the Options
A client recently asked me to help her think through a big, cross-country move. Her husband had a job offer with a higher salary in the new location; and while they loved where they were, they were struggling financially in an expensive city.
I pointed out that her options weren’t simply to take the job or to stay and continue to barely make ends meet. There were other ways she could change her situation: her husband could ask for a raise, she could look for part-time work, or they could downsize their house. Don’t leave any option unexplored, no matter how unlikely it seems: You want to know the full range of choices and not limit yourself to two.
4. You’ve Got to Keep a List
Instead of just going through the pros and cons in your head, write them out in list form. It’s not just a matter of clarifying important points and picking a side. Keeping the list will help you minimize regret, because if you start to second-guess yourself later on, you’ll have evidence for why you made the decision you did.
Sometimes, a simple reminder that your choice was based on concrete factors and the best information you had at the time—and wasn’t just made on a whim—can help re-configure your thinking so you feel better about the path you took.
5. You’ve Got to Keep Things in Perspective
This is important both during decision-making and afterwards. We often get so caught up in finding the best option that it consumes us. Reminding yourself that things are going to be OK no matter which choice you make—which is true most of the time—puts you in the right mindset for a regret-free decision.
You’re not perfect—and that’s OK, no one is. Sometimes, we choose badly, or circumstances beyond our control mean that a decision we made wasn’t the right one. Regret is usually unproductive and pointless, and although that doesn’t help when you feel like you made a huge mistake, the less time you spend dwelling on what could have been, the better.
If all else fails, try to channel that regret into something useful. Making a poor decision prepares you for better decision making in the future. Analyze what went wrong, refine your process, and move forward.
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Good clinical judgement comes with experience and practice Picture credit: Neil O’Connor It is clear that we should be paying more attention to how nurses learn to make judgements and decisions. Stories in the media and the Nursing and Midwifery Council Fitness to Practice hearings show that patients have been harmed as a result of poor nursing judgements and decisions. Evidence suggests that nurses make widely different decisions with the same information and in the same circumstances (see resources ). Recently, we have reconsidered how judgement and decision making can be addressed in the undergraduate nursing curriculum. A systematic review of the literature revealed a large body of evidence to support teaching in this field (see resources ). At level 1 in the undergraduate curriculum, we aim to raise awareness that uncertainty and error are an inevitable part of nursing practice. It is impossible to master the constantly expanding repertoire of clinical knowledge and skills – knowledge that in itself is limited and incomplete. Effective communication helps us to understand the situation as fully as possible and good quality research evidence informs our clinical practice. At level 2 in the curriculum, we discuss theories of nursing judgement and decision making. Benner’s theory of intuition and experience proposes that expert nurses appear to internalise decision making at an almost subconscious level of cognition so that their practice appears intuitive and fluid. One of the challenges of nursing practice is that some judgements need to be made rapidly while others benefit from more considered thinking. This latter is associated with higher levels of accuracy. So, it is helpful for nurses to consider how they think when making different types of judgements and decisions. At level 3 as nursing students approach registration, we consider the literature about how to develop expertise. Developing expertise Expertise is a function of knowledge and behaviour, and there is evidence to suggest that its development is linked to certain identifiable factors. These include focusing on a well-defined task, receiving detailed immediate feedback on performance and repetition of the task. Opportunities to think about practice can be sought actively in clinical practice and can help us develop expertise in the important tasks of our chosen area of clinical practice. It is important to optimise the quality of nurses’ judgement and decision making. We do not have a perfect approach to teaching judgement and decision making yet, but introducing more research-informed teaching does feel like a step towards improving outcomes for patients. Resources Judgement among community nurses tinyurl.com/Judgement-analysisAdderley Educational interventions and clinical decision making tinyurl.com/CDMSystematicReview
Nursing Standard – Royal College of Nursing (RCN)
Most people hate making decisions. Why is that?
They overcomplicate it. Fear of picking the wrong option leads to a period of limbo where nothing gets done and the issue seems to grow bigger and bigger.
That kind of procrastination hell is something I’ve gotten to know intimately through my work as a decision coach. (Yes, that’s a real job.) I’ve seen people take what should be an easily and straight-forward decision and turn it into an impossible one—all out of fear.
Here are four things I’ve learned that will help you make any tough choice better and faster (and without those knots in your stomach).
1. Get Clear on What You Really Want
Decider, know thyself. I’ve learned that waiting around often means you’re not happy with any of the options—because they’re not right for who you are. Let’s say there are two choices that make sense on paper (e.g., picking between going back to school and going for a promotion). The real reason someone might be unable to make up his mind is that neither option is what he really wants. Maybe he truly wants want a job in an entirely new field. Maybe the prospect of two more years of school fills him with dread. Maybe he’d most love to be a stay-at-home dad.
So, when you find yourself stuck between possibilities, think about what you really want. For example, if you’re unsure about a career change, ask yourself what it is that appeals to you about your current position and the one you’re debating.
If your answer is that your current work appeals to you, but the salary of the new field sounds awesome—your answer isn’t necessarily to choose between the two, but to ask your manager for a raise. (And obviously take the necessary steps to make that happen.)
2. Don’t Choose Something Just Because You’re “Supposed To”
Once you identify what you really want, you’ll need to quiet the voices in your head—or of skeptical people in your life—that tell you that you should want something else. For example, I had a client who was offered a prestigious fellowship in Colombia, which was an opportunity she’d been dying for when she’d applied. But by the time the acceptance came through, her job at home was revving up, she had a great mentor who was invested in developing her career, and she was feeling excited and happy about her current situation.
As a Type-A personality used to succeeding, it was ingrained in her to pursue opportunities like the impressive fellowship. Together we realized that she no longer wanted to go, but she felt bad declining the offer. In the end, she decided to stay, and to make sure she had no regrets, we made a plan for her to really focus on maximizing her opportunities at her current job.
So, if you’re feeling pressured into making the decision that looks good, step back and examine your reasoning. If you can’t come up with a good answer, you know it’s not for you.
3. Remember That Doing Something Trumps Doing Nothing
This is true 99% of the time. I have clients who have been paralyzed by their inability to figure out what they want to do for a living. So they work jobs that pay the bills, but aren’t doing anything for their career trajectory. They’re so afraid of taking the wrong job that years go by and they’re still working in a coffee shop or suffering through the same job they held in college.
Now, picture an alternative scenario. Imagine someone takes a job that she’s not sure is in her dream field, but she builds on it. She advances in the company, leads projects, and develops her resume. Two years down the line, she decides that career isn’t for her and that she’d like to try something else. Now, she’ll start her job search with quantifiable skills and achievements—which she can use to bolster her application for the next job she applies for. Yes, she’s worked the same number of years as the person at the coffee shop, but she has new and different skills to show for it.
4. Practice Being Decisive
The same clients who trouble with the big questions (e.g., should I quit my job and start my own business?) often spend the whole day deciding when they should go to the gym. You know who you are: You spend more time scrolling through Netflix than watching that half-hour show. Or you keep telling the waiter that yes, you still need more time before you decide what you’d like to order.
If you’re chronically indecisive, build that decision-making muscle by starting small. Give yourself 30 seconds to decide what you’ll have for dinner, what movie to watch, or whether you want to go out tonight. Follow through on that decision. Repeat. Then work up to bigger things.
Does this give you anxiety? Ask yourself what the worst-case scenario is if you pick wrong. In other words, if you choose a movie that isn’t great, you can turn it off or choose a different movie the next time. If your lunch is lackluster, have something different for dinner. Making small decisions in a timely fashion will help train your brain to think through questions more quickly.
No one makes perfect decisions 100% of the time. We date the wrong people, we stay in a job longer than we should, we order the wrong dessert. But action works in your favor, while inaction never does. When you delay making a decision because you’re afraid of messing up, nothing changes. But when you’re proactive, you’re choosing to move ahead—and that’s one of the best decisions you can make.
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Make the Right Decision, Not Just a Fast One
By Rick Warren
“Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant” (Daniel 2:16 NLT).
When you’re asked to do something that’s impossible, you start by refusing to panic and by getting all the facts. Then, you ask for more time.
Why? Because your biggest temptation in the midst of crisis is to be impulsive. You’re typically not thinking rationally. You’re thinking emotionally. You want to make a quick decision.
But it’s more important to make the right decision than a fast decision.
A wrong decision is wrong, no matter how quickly you make it. So step back, take a deep breath, calm down, and talk to God.
Daniel did this when the king asked him to interpret a dream (after the king ordered the killing of the first few people who tried): “Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant” (Daniel 2:16 NLT).
He gives us a great model for dealing with a high-pressure situation by asking for more time and then talking to God about it.
You’re more likely to make a better decision when you don’t rush to make a quick one. Take your time.
For more Daily Hope with Rick Warren, please visit pastorrick.com!
Live With More Freedom, Joy and Impact in 2021!
Last year challenged us all, which is why this year it’s so important to choose faith over fear and step out boldly to make a difference for Christ.
Find out how you can live with more freedom, joy, and impact this year with Pastor Rick Warren’s 6-session DVD study kit, Daring Faith.
Complete with a study guide and devotion for each day, this resource will help you build a life of bold faith, take more initiative, and face your fears head on!
The Daring Faith Study Kit is our way to say thanks for your generous gift below to help take the Gospel to the whole world through Daily Hope.
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Read time: 5 minutes
When you manage a business, you are constantly making decisions—often under pressure. How do you make the best possible decisions, knowing they will have an impact on your company’s future?
There are strategies you can use to avoid common pitfalls and hone your decision-making skills. Making better, faster decisions will help you take advantage of business opportunities and avoid pitfalls.
1. Reframe the problem
Backing up is sometimes the best way to move forward. When you are presented with a problem, step back and think about its full context. Try to see the issue from as many perspectives as possible. That will help ensure you are not emphasizing one aspect and neglecting others.
Begin by trying to think of at least 3 different ways of looking at the problem.
2. Make evidence-based decisions
The aim of evidence-based management (EBM) is to use scientific evidence when making decisions, rather than simply trusting one’s instincts. Like most people, you probably tend to use your judgement and to base your decisions on what is familiar. But experiences that you have had at other companies or in different circumstances may not apply to the situation at hand.
There are simple steps you can take to incorporate evidence into your decision making.
- Use performance data to support your decisions. Get the most current and complete data possible.
- Challenge your gut feelings. Is there any objective evidence to support them?
- When a course of action is suggested, find out what it’s based on and whether it’s supported by data.
- Determine whether commonly used business strategies have worked in a situation like yours. Will they apply to your particular case?
- Check that the business data you come across are current and objective.
3. Challenge the status quo
People tend to choose the status quo over change, to stay in their comfort zone. But being comfortable with an approach may not be enough to justify it. Question whether you would choose a course of action if you weren’t already following it. Examine your options as realistically as possible. Don’t overstate the cost or the effort involved in making a change.
For example, if you were starting over, would you use the same marketing tactics to attract customers? Would you attend the same trade shows? Would you emphasize web-based marketing, direct mail or a mix? Don’t forget to find supporting data that will help you review your choices objectively.
4. Get an outside perspective. but trust yourself
Make it a habit to ask others for information and opinions. Be open-minded. Get a wide range of views, so you can see an issue from as many perspectives as possible.
Employee opinions count
Find ways to encourage information sharing in your company. Be open to plain talk and foster an atmosphere where people can be direct, even when the truth is unpleasant. Using performance evaluations is one way to encourage these values.
Deal with problems
If you want to consult others about a problem, be sure to consider it carefully from as many angles as possible before talking to them. That way, you will avoid being limited by their interpretations and ideas. Frame the problem in as many ways as you can, and then seek out others to see whether they can add to your understanding of the issue.
5. Develop an eye for risk
It’s possible to train yourself to look for all types of risks. Whenever you make a decision, ask yourself: If I make the wrong decision, how will I know it?
For example, if you are considering changing your transportation carrier to cut costs, think about how you would determine that you’d made the wrong decision.
- Your service department would report more customer complaints about delayed orders.
- You wouldn’t see cost savings at the end of the quarter.
- Administration staff would complain of poor service from the new supplier.
- The carrier could go out of business, leaving you to find a new supplier.
This type of exercise can help you see the potential pitfalls of a decision and take steps to avoid them.
Even a generally good plan will have costs and potential problems. Ask for information on how the plan could go wrong. Play the devil’s advocate. Examine all the evidence, both bad and good. Don’t underestimate the costs and effort required.
6. Let go of past mistakes
People have a tendency to make choices that justify past experiences, even when a previous decision has not worked out as well as they’d planned. We also tend to spend time and money fixing past problems, when it would be more useful to acknowledge the mistake and move on.
Making sound decisions means taking into account the evidence that is available at the time. Sometimes the context changes and that decision is no longer valid. Recognize that you made the best decision possible under the circumstances, and then review the situation to see whether a different decision is now called for.
In your company, take time to recognize employees who make good decisions based on sound evidence. Don’t focus exclusively on outcomes, as that approach can encourage employees to perpetuate mistakes by continuing to try to fix them.
7. Be honest with yourself
Before gathering evidence to make a decision, take time to review your own motivations. Is your mind already made up? Are you really gathering evidence objectively, or are you simply looking to confirm an existing idea?
Being aware of your own motivations can help you remain objective and focus on finding the best possible solution for your business.
Briskly proceed through the 7 previous steps and then make a decision.
By Tim Sackett June 3, 2011 July 23, 2015
For those that don’t know, I played and coached volleyball for a great deal of my life.
Being from Michigan, I can tell you that is rare (being a male) and I got called “gay” more than once while fundraising to make money to pay for traveling nationally for major tournaments (I think the actual phrases were more like “don’t girls only play volleyball?”, etc. – welcome to the Rust Belt!).
Anywho, one piece of my coaching stuck with me (we used with our middle blockers) that I also have used into my adult life and I use it still today:
It’s better to make a wrong decision fast, then make the right decision too slow.”
How volleyball can develop decision-making skills
Why? In volleyball, when you go to block you have to make split second decisions, you have three options – block middle, block right side hitter, block left side hitter. You rely on your instincts, you rely on communication from your teammates, and you survey the situation (where is the pass coming from, where is the setter, how far off the net is the setter, etc.), and then you make a decision.
The problem most middle blockers have at a young age is they want to be up on every block. They want to make the right decision every time, but by doing this, they rarely make it to block any position because they are frozen with indecision. I taught my middles to decide quick, and then do it – do it 110 percent! Go to whichever spot you decided to block and block – even if the ball went to another position!
Why? Some positive things happen by you making the wrong decision quickly.
For starters, it allows your teammates to make adjustments they need to make to try and get the best possible outcome – believe me your back row players know when you made the wrong decision – because they’re staring down the hitter with only one blocker. BUT, it also allows them know how to try and defend that. If you’re late and you have a hole in the middle of block – now they have to guess where to go – fill the hole, cover the line, take cross, etc. It becomes a guessing game – which you rarely win.
What happens if you make the right decision too slow? About 99 percent of the time, what was going to happen, already happened – you didn’t make the decision, it was made for you. I like being in control, so this isn’t an option I like.
Keeping options open can be a bad idea
So what? Fast Company has a wonderful article on this concept called: Why Keeping Your Options Open is a Really, Really Bad Idea. From the article:
Why does keeping our options open make us less happy? Because once we make a final, no-turning-back decision, the psychological immune system kicks in. This is how psychologists like Gilbert refer to the mind’s uncanny ability to make us feel good about our decisions. Once we’ve committed to a course of action, we stop thinking about alternatives. Or, if we do bother to think about them, we think about how lousy they are compared to our clearly superior and awesome choice.”
Most of us have had to make a choice between two colleges, or job offers, or apartments. You may have had to choose which candidate to hire for a job, or which vendor your company would engage for a project. When you were making your decision, it was probably a tough one – every option had significant pros and cons. But after you made that decision, did you ever wonder how you could have even considered the now obviously inferior alternative?
When you keep your options open, however, you can’t stop thinking about the downside because you’re still trying to figure out if you made the right choice. The psychological immune system doesn’t kick in and you’re left feeling less happy about whatever choice you end up making.
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This brings us to the other problem with reversible decisions – new research shows that they don’t just rob you of happiness, they also lead to poorer performance.
Agonizing over making the “right” choice
I tend to run into this with younger workers who want to make the right choice, fearing “death” or some other less desirable outcome if they make the wrong choice. They tend to defer decision making to their boss or a peer instead of making it themselves, thus giving away the chance for superior performance.
In reality, all I want is for you them to make any choice and we’ll live with the outcome. I hire great people, so I’m sure they’ll make very wise, research-driven decisions – and even then, sometimes they’ll fail. I’m willing to live with that – if – it’s fast, because that allows us to adjust and find a way to make it right.
There are two things at play in this concept:
- Fast action; and,
- Failure is an option that we can live with.
Give me those two things and I’ll show you an organization that is on the move – and that can block pretty well, too!
This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.
Inside: A simple and fun game you can play with your kids to practice making decisions. You can play it at home, in restaurants, car rides or while waiting.
It’s Sunday and it’s my meal planning time for the week. I sit at the kitchen table, sip my coffee, and ask myself “what should we have for dinner this week?” Often, I ask my family for input, but let’s be honest, I get a lot of “pizza!” and “pasta!” answers from my children 🙂
Every day, we are faced with all sorts of decisions. Sometimes the decisions are small, like what to wear or what to eat. And sometimes the decisions are bigger, like where to live or where to send your children to school.
Decision making is not something that children get to practice all that frequently. It’s good to allow your children the time to practice making small decisions now. They’ll learn how it’s done and have more practice going through the decision making process. As they get older, the decisions they make have bigger consequences and you want them to have the skills in place to make good decisions.
Of course, right now they can’t make huge decisions like where to live or where to go to school. But they can make decisions about other things, like:
What to wear to school
What to have for dinner
Who to invite over for a play date
Obviously, you can’t do this every day, but try it out on days when you aren’t rushed or pressured for time. What will be hard is letting them experience the consequences of their decisions. For instance, if they decide to wear shorts in 20 degree F weather, then not only do they experience cold legs, but potentially not being allowed to go outside for recess. That experience will probably stay with them more than if you just tell them to put on something warmer!
Want a fun way to practice making decisions? Play Would You Rather!
When you answer a question, you have to choose one or the other, you can’t pick a third option. You can always ask questions to get more information about the scenario to help you make a decision.
This is a great game for a play date, for car rides, while waiting in line, or at dinner too. We often play it at dinner time, with each of us taking a turn to make up a question. To get you started, click the image below to get a printable with 36 kid friendly Would You Rather Questions that you can use now (plus 5 other free printables to help you encourage play!)