Option Paralysis Kenny Soto

3 Decision Making Strategies to Counter Option Paralysis

Simple decision-making strategies to increase your productivity

Every business professional needs to be effective in completing their tasks but, they can be stumped when a difficult situation arises. Perhaps a client is not satisfied with your product or a key founding partner wants to leave the company. One of the biggest deterrents to making the right decision in any scenario is option paralysis: not being able to make decisions because there are too many options one can choose from. One quick fix to this issue is being impulsive and going with your gut but, this can often times backfire. So what can one do, to stop option paralysis? Below are several decision-making strategies in which you can help optimize your decision-making and make sure you can make the right choice in a timely manner.

 The power of SWOT

From my own experiences in business I have seen most people use SWOT when working on a business plan and not in everyday life. SWOT, which stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, is a great decision-making strategy used by most business professionals when planning a new business venture such as the launching of a new product line or a merger.  I use this decision-making strategy to quickly see the bigger picture before I make any important decision. Whether it be choosing what to prioritize during the day or who I should do business with to maximize my profit, using this model can help tremendously with speed and productivity.

Strengths Weaknesses
  • Political support
  • Funding available
  • Market experience
  • Strong leadership
  • Project is very complex
  • Likely to be costly
  • May have environmental impact
  • Staff resources are already stretched
Opportunities Threats
  • Project may improve local economy
  • Will improve safety
  • Project will boost company’s public image
  • Environmental constraints
  • Time delays
  • Opposition to change

Example from: Business News Daily

Using this strategy can also help when explaining to your team why you decided to go a specific route. Having a diagram of how you came to your decision will help when explaining why you thought your decision was best for the group and it can help when reflecting on how the decision effected your business when looking back.

Trust your team

Whenever a decision seems too much to handle, remember that you are not alone. Seeking advice is always a really simple way to make sure you are not being complacent in making an important decision. Asking for another person’s perspective can often times enlighten you and show you others ways you can handle specific issues that you may have never considered. One of the reasons it is always best to surround yourself with people who do not think like you is so you can expand your mind and constantly learn different ways to approach any given situation. Never forget the power of the many in making a decision, one person can only see so much. Another positive of making difficult decisions through the advice of others is that you get to see how your team members will make decisions in your absence. It is very important to know who you should trust with the responsibility of making choices for the team in the event of an emergency when you are not able to be there and supervise the situation. It also shows who can possibly become your successor if you ever decide to leave the team and venture off into something else.

Flip a coin

This is the last resort way I make my decisions if I find myself thinking too much about pressing matters. I keep it simple and flip a coin. If it lands and I do not agree with the decision then I know that is the one I have to make. I don’t necessarily let the coin decide for me, I just let it solidify my decision. Do not under any circumstances leave anything up to chance. Just use this tactic to make sure that all doubts are subdued and you can assure yourself that you are doing what you believe is best.

I like to limit my decision-making strategies to these three because as “option paralysis” can deter you from making a decision, the same effect can happen by having too many strategies to work around it as well. Keep things simple when you can so you can go through your life and professional career in a fluid and productive way. You save yourself countless time by keeping these decision-making strategies in mind.

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Blog post image about organization

Organization: A Leader’s Obsession

We are subjected to a constant barrage of tasks and responsibilities. Every day, we have to complete before the end of the day, as a leader, completing all these objectives each day sometimes feels insurmountable, there never seems to be enough time during the day to complete everything.  In one of my earlier articles, I went over the essential qualities a leader should have. One skill a leader needs in, order to succeed (and stay sane) is organization.

Fall in love with your calendar.

I would not survive college if I did not follow my iPhone calendar. The key to success is to follow the four D’s of success:

  1. Do it
  2. Delegate it
  3. Defer it
  4. Drop it

This is the formula I use to rank each item on my calendar. With all the goals a leader has throughout the day, they aren’t effectively supporting their team if they are doing all the work. A leader who does what he promises is necessary, however, being able to delegate tasks to your team  (you can see other qualities every leader should have here). Another thing to always remember is that if something can be done tomorrow, worry about every thing that is important today. To help with this you have to set up criteria for what exactly is important in order of 1-5. Using a simple ranking system, such as: Family chores, School Work, Internship, etc. The easiest to defer anything is to set a list of priorities during the day, week, and the month. Finally, always remember that successful people always say no. You can not accept every thing people ask you to do. This is how leaders over extend themselves, they say yes to everything and that is never ok. The key to time management is to consistently understand that it is impossible for you to do every thing that you want to. Always focus on doing one important thing at a time.

Get a task journal to build infrastructure for your organization goals.

To stay on track of everything I have to do during the week I keep a journal that I write in when I arrive home everyday. The point of the journal isn’t to just write what you have done and what you haven’t done, it is so you can record the process of how you completed each task. Understanding how to improve on each process so you can complete  similar tasks in the future more efficiently is some thing I highly suggest doing if you are a very busy person. It also helps with making sure you aren’t wasting too much time on one specific thing; knowing that you can come with better approach to reaching a goal after studying how you’ve done things beforehand is really helpful.

To stay organized make sure you do the bare minimum.

There will be days where you can’t complete all things you want to do but, they need to get done. The best practice is to do the bare minimum on the tasks that aren’t necessarily as important as the other tasks you need to complete. Just because something has to be done immediately doesn’t mean it is more important than your other tasks. If you keep this in mind you will save yourself a lot of time and stress and keep yourself organized.

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kenny soto 4 qualities of an effective leader

The 4 Qualities Effective Leader’s Have

Before you lead a team…

I have come across many people in my time as a student leader. Throughout all the different interactions I have had with many of my fellow peers, they all have an abundance of different qualities that make them all exceptional leaders. There are, however, four core characteristics that make them successful leaders.

1. Patience

To be a leader you can not be impulsive in your decision-making. Trusting your instincts is important but, there is a difference between going with your gut and reacting from your emotions. It is always important to analyze the intended and unintended consequences of every choice you make. Being able to stand back and ask yourself important questions such as, “Is this venture worth the risk? Should we worry about this issue now or leave it on the side to address other pressing matters?”, is very important to do as a leader. Every  decision you make affects the ones that will be made in the future; having clarity is the only way you will be able to lead a team to greatness.

2. Curiosity

In anything that you do, whether now or in the future, there will always be ways for you to further develop and improve yourself as an asset to the group. Always seek opportunities to grow and the best way to  do so is to keep an open mind and be willing to learn from anyone, not just people in your immediate network. One of the best ways to constantly learn besides reading every day is to continuously engage with people you do not normally converse with. Learning about new cultures and different social topics makes it easier to build rapport with people in any situation, which is very important for a leader. You can only stay the leader of a group so long as you grow with it.

3. Service

I am a strong believer that a leader is the one person who knows how to serve the group’s purpose the best. A leader is not someone who works to meet his own agenda (surely most leaders get their positions with determination and desire as two key pillars that drive them) but is someone who works to carry out the goals and aspirations of everyone  involved within the team. When given a position of power that can decide the future of an entire group of people, the responsibilities of the leader should not be taken lightly. Being able to understand the importance of your role, not only for yourself but, for everyone else is key to sustaining a team and achieving success for all.

4. Delegation

I struggle with this every day. Being the most significant quality in a leader, honing this skill is a must in order to be successful. Delegating tasks is not only important for the health of a leader but more importantly, it lets other members of the team have the opportunity to further propel their growth and possibly become leaders themselves. You are never truly done leading a team until it is able to survive without you. This can only be achieved if you give others the chance to tackle challenges and obstacles without you. Don’t be afraid to trust your teammates with hard tasks. Staying concerned with issues, present and potential, as well as opportunities that may arise in the future is what should be your main priority.

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