How To Avoid Decision Making Anxiety
A topic often discussed in the context of corporate innovation is a company's risk sensitivity. While corporate "culture" tends to influence an individual's decision making style, employees can vary widely in their personal comfort level when dealing with decisions that involve ambiguity, uncertainty and risk. Today, we discuss one effective way to help manage anxiety when facing a risky decision making situation. Even if one isn't clinically anxious, he/she may still be uncomfortable with certain decisions that involve uncertainty and risk. In these instances it can be helpful to do a "reality check" in order to make sound decisions.
Let's say that you must decide whether or not to approve the release of your company's liquid fabric softener product to its New England test market. You're satisfied that the product produced for the test is mostly on spec, but its color is slightly darker than it should be. Will consumers be turned off by this? Will the product generate fabric staining complaints? It would be costly and time consuming to produce and pack new product. Product ships are scheduled to begin immediately and in-market television and digital advertising are due to start up within 2 weeks. You are concerned about potential risks. The go/no go decision is yours alone to make and you must make it now. You're feeling anxious. What to do? Ask yourself these questions, being as honest and objective as you can (assuming that you have already reviewed all of the available data and consulted with expert colleagues to ensure that you fully understand it):
What is the absolute worst thing that could happen if you choose to go (or not go) forward?Could you (and the company) live with the outcome/consequences if the worst case actually occurred? Could you recover, if necessary? Realistically, what is the actual likelihood of the worst case occurring?After doing this "reality check", you should be in a much better position to objectively judge the true risks associated with the decision, and to make your choice as clear-headedly as possible. The decision making doesn't become easy...instead, after performing the analysis, you likely will have substantially reduced the effects that anxiety might otherwise have on your ability to make a good decision.
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