Have you ever noticed that you make decisions in the same way over and over again? I don’t mean that you make the same decision all the time, but the process you use to make decisions is probably quite consistent.
The way you make decisions may be very different from the way your partner or friend or boss makes them. Understanding your decision-making style and the style of the people around you can make a big difference in how you get along.
Analytic Decision Makers
If you’re an analytical decision maker, you do a great deal of homework before deciding. You research and make lists of the pros and cons. You read and consult experts. You take your time because you want to know that the decision you make is right.
And once you’ve made your decision, you’re not likely to change your mind.
Intuitive Decision Makers
Intuitive decision makers approach decisions in a very different way.
Rather than doing extensive homework first, you decide on the spur of the moment. You may even flip a coin. If this more spontaneous method is your style, you’ll know that for you making decisions is more a process of testing the waters than it is of making a final decision.
You’ll decide about something on the spur of the moment and then you’ll live with what you’ve decided for a while to see if it’s the right decision for you. If the consequences seem constructive, you’ll stick with your choice. But if you start to see negative results, you’ll change your mind.
In fact, you may change your mind several times until you land on the course of action that seems just right.
Both of these decision-making styles work. But you may run into trouble if you are an analytic decision maker and your boss or your partner is an intuitive decision maker, or vice versa. Whatever your style, it’s easy to think that your way as the right way when in fact it’s just one way.
The Challenge of Conflicting Styles
If you’re an analytic decision maker, someone who makes decisions intuitively may seem flaky or even foolhardy.
If you’re an intuitive decision maker, your analytic counterpart may seem to be stuck in the data, slow to act and inflexible.
It’s no wonder that people of different styles often find themselves in conflict.
But once you understand that neither style is right and that both are effective, you might even come to seek the advice of someone with a style different from your own.
Real Life Decision Making
A personal confession — I’m an intuitive decision maker. My husband, Tyko, is strongly analytic. It’s taken us years — even decades — to figure out that our styles work better together than they do apart.
Tyko’s slow deliberate decision making still drives me crazy sometimes. My impulsive style sometimes makes him shake his head. But jointly we wind up making pretty good decisions! He does the research and I lead the way to action.
Figure Out Your Decision-Making Style
You will make many decisions today. Pay attention to how you do it. Are you an analytic or an intuitive decision-maker? By understanding that the way you decide is just your style, you will become more tolerant of others.
Do you gather information before moving forward? Or do you dive in and then reconsider?
Share your decision making style in the comments. How does your style compare to other people you know?