There are those that contend, that in its simplest form, life is a series of choices. This is certainly, in some sense, true. Except that it’s not that simple, because life itself is not that simple. The complexity of life or, rather, living a life, means that the choices the average individual faces over the course of a lifetime are equally complex.

These choices in our profession are equally complex and come from so many directions.  Some of these decisions can be life and death, or safety vs. harm, and others are not as huge, but we need to be prepared to make them, and we need to be confident and credible in them.

These choices range from simple survival decisions (Should I eat that mushroom?), to difficult moral personal choices (Should I speak out against this injustice and incur increased personal risk?).  Obviously, the one thing that all these decisions have in common are the option of choosing action and outcome. However, because the nature of these various actions, and their potential outcomes, vary wildly, no one strategy can encompass the process of deciding between them. This is where an understanding of what a decision is becomes important to understand to apply.

Recognize about this, if we are talking about the subject of interviewing and there is more than one person present, these decisions are being made by more than one party, often with competing interests, many times with differing objectives, so this process becomes even more layered and complex.  Resultingly, communicating effectively becomes essential.

A decision is, of course, the action of deciding something. A person faced with a choice, makes a choice. The most basic example of this is the proverbial fork in the road. When facing a fork in the road, you have the choice of going left or going right. You stop for a period while you think, then you decide to go either left or right. Once the decision has been made you take the path you’ve chosen.

That’s straightforward and obvious, right? To some extent, the answer to that question is yes. To a greater extent, however, the answer is no. To become a more efficient and a more focused decision maker, you need to understand all the processes that went into making the simple decision above.

How many processes were at play in the simple fork in the road decision?

  1. First, there was a problem. The path you were walking on divided into two.
  2. Second, there was the nature of the problem. Because the path divided, you were forced to go either left or right to reach your destination.
  3. Third, you needed to choose between these two options to continue.
  4. Fourth, you utilized your experience, knowledge, and intuition to decide which option was best suited to your needs.
  5. Fifth, you actually made the decision.
  6. Finally, you, once again, began moving forward towards your destination based on that decision.

Clearly, the simplest of decisions entails a number of steps. In most cases, we handle these steps subconsciously, without really being aware of what it is we are doing. When the decision we are faced with is simple, this “autopilot” method of choosing isn’t necessarily a problem. However, when more complex decisions need to be made, not understanding the process can give rise to difficulties and “winging it” shouldn’t be our fall back.  Again, planning and strategizing is essential to formulate the best plan for success and to accomplish are goals.  Are we taking the time and effort necessary to maximize our control over this destiny?

In auditing, investigating, inspections, compliance, and human resources the ability to effectively identify and make decisions is imperative.  In interviewing alone, sit down and take a recent interview you completed and dissect the processes that occurred throughout that interview.  The numbers of decisions for one interview is immense.  Coupled with that, the time available to effectively encounter, process, and effect a decision is minimal.  We must equip ourselves to be effective interviewers in so many areas, including decisions.

Take some time to sit back and consider this process related to your work. Can you see places where a better decision may have changed the course or outcome of that matter?  If so what could you have done better?  Analyzing these things will ultimately improve our decision-making, increase our confidence, and resultingly build trust with those around us.

Anderson Investigative Associates is positioned to custom-tailor training to your specific needs.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss the above issues of quality decisions or any training need, please reach out.  Additional issues pertaining to interviewing, auditing, and investigations can be found in other blogs and videos that I have produced and are contained in most blocks of instruction that our company presents.

If you have additional questions, comments, or have an interviewing topic you would like me to address, give me a shout.  In the meantime, be well, stay safe out there, and spend time to hone that ability to make consistent quality decisions.

Mark A. Anderson

Director of Training and Development

Anderson Investigative Associates, llc

114 Loucks Avenue

Scottdale, PA 15683