McKinsey has created a 6 step process profiled in Harvard Business Review that helps you more easily answer and strategize when it comes to finding answers and making decisions.
This process can be applied to anything from work, to love to friendship, to a life decision etc. The main key is to change your mentality and learn how to approach decision making with more strategy and purpose.
Step 1. Come up with multiple strategic options to one problem. And make sure you see them as mutually exclusive. You can start with the easiest most obvious option and then come up with more complex ones.
Step 2. Now expand on that list. Deepen the details of each strategic option and perhaps even bring on a friend or colleague to help you brainstorm.
Step 3. Take a look at each option you have come up with and define clearly the conditions that would make that one specific option optimal. Doing this will not only help you make a decision, but also start to anticipate external factors. When those arise you will be able to more easily switch between plans if necessary to make sure whatever decision you go with will bring you to the desired outcome.
Step 4. Come up with what will go wrong. For every single option. Not only will this help you determine which options are “easier” or “harder”, but it will help you come up with how to solve some of those barriers or obstacles should they arise.
Step 5. Take step 4 a little further. Come up with everything that will make every option either work or not work. Essentially you are creating a pro and con list that will help you gain an idea of the bigger picture.
Step 6. Analyze the data. Now that you have created, analyzed, and detailed out every option and you have the big picture. Weigh out which ones make the most sense, which conditions are best etc. You will have the satisfaction of knowing that the decision you made had a purpose.
Let’s take the idea of knowing you made a decision with purpose a little deeper. Most often when it comes to human nature one of the biggest problems we face is that we feel out of control. That nothing has a purpose. Although this process may be timely, and not even change what your original decision would be, the idea that you put time, effort, and thought into this process will allow you to lose some anxiety. It will allow you to feel more secure in your decision which makes all the difference in the world.