Decisions, Bad Decisions and Decision Fatigue

In my last post, I talked about challenges to decision-making and the many issues that lead to less-than-optimal decisions. The one thing that sticks in my mind after last week’s post is that every team member greater than 7 reduces the decision effectiveness of a team by 10%. Think about that; if your team is at 10 or 11 your decision is 30-40% less optimal than if you had a team of 7 or slightly less. This should be on your mind the next time you put a group together to work on a project.

My purpose today is to discuss obstacles to a decision, especially decision fatigue. You may also remember from last week that the average person makes 30,000 or more daily decisions. Many of them are unconscious decisions, but they are decisions nonetheless. Medical science is keen on the concept of “decision fatigue” and we will unpack that concept further in the coming paragraphs.

Image by pch.vector on FreepikIn a November 2021 article, the American Medical Association talks about Decision Fatigue and shares a few ideas that people need to know about this issue. Research has shown that decisions made later in the day tend to be less accurate due to fatigue. They offer several simple suggestions such as making decisions early to avoid having too many at one time. They also talk about streamlining decisions by taking issues off of your plate and sharing them with others. The number of decisions may not decrease, but the number of people they are spread over can increase to lessen the load on many.

Harvard Business Review also talks about obstacles to good decisions in an August 2019 article. Issues leading to bad decisions include:

  1. decision fatigue
  2. too many distractions
  3. lack of input
  4. multi-tasking
  5. emotions
  6. analysis paralysis

I found this list to be a helpful guide and know that I personally have a tendency to make decisions without significant input, especially from my business partner. When I include her in my decisions, the quality and accuracy goes up dramatically.

Decisions: You cannot live without them, but they can be difficult to handle when times get busy.

What do you do to make better decisions?

How do you avoid distractions or multi-tasking in order to make better decisions?

I’ll be back next week with another segment on decisions and how you can make them better.


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