Like any other business, the success of a Veterinary Practice will depend heavily on the decisions made by practice owners and managers. Running a business involved making many decisions every day. While many will be routine and obvious, others will be very challenging. Some will have many right answers, while others will have none. Understanding how we all make decisions is vital if you want to improve your decision-making.

How we make decisions

Considering the impact our decisions have, it is incredible that so few people understand the process involved. The most common assumption is that our decision making is rational. We think about the decision, weighing up the options, then pick the best path forward. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, we use intuition to make most of our decisions. Intuition is quick and efficient, but this comes at a cost. Intuition cuts corners, relying on our emotions to make judgements. Often, the rational part of our brain only comes into play after the decision has been made (to help us justify the decision we made).

Why it matters

For most simple decisions we make, using our intuition to cut corners is precisely what we need. But, with an important business decision, cutting corners can lead to a costly mistake. For those big decisions, it would be far better for us to use the rational thinking part of our brain. Unfortunately, this is easier said than done.

How to master our decision making

While we may not be able to wrestle control away from our intuition, we can work around it. Understanding how our brain makes decisions enables us to account for possible mistakes. The best way to achieve this is through verification.

Asking others is a great place to start, especially if they can be more objective. If someone else would make a different call in your shoes, it may your decision needs more thought. Look at why they made a different choice, and which decision is likely to be the more reliable.

Another excellent tool to empower decision making is data. Modern practice management systems can provide fantastic amounts of information. This data can be a powerful tool for not only verifying decisions but also informing future ones.