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Pressure is a privilege: Setting the conditions for pressure to effectively drive decision-making

Contrary to popular belief, pressure is a privilege. It’s a natural part of business but learning to navigate and leverage it can give us an edge when called to make big decisions. Sure, if not managed properly, pressure can cloud our judgment and lead to impulsive decisions, not to mention undermine our performance and productivity, and our mental and physical health.

But it can also be a catalyst for movement in key moments in business when harnessed thoughtfully. Respect the pressure and the pressure will set the conditions for effective decision-making. Here are 10 strategies to harness that pressure:

  1. Recognize the presence of pressure: it exists and it’s influencing your decision-making process. Acknowledging it is the first step to making it work for you and your team.

  1. Assess the source and impact of pressure: is it self-imposed or coming from others or the situation? Understand the nature and contextualize its relevance to the decision.

  1. Seek alternative viewpoints: pressure creates the kind of tunnel vision that can only be disrupted by diverse perspectives and insights. Pressure conquers the maverick.

  1. Use time wisely: allocating time to reflection and analysis is key to avoid rushing into choices solely based on the pressure of tight deadlines.

  1. Balance emotional and rational thinking: emotions and pressure go hand in hand. Don’t fight it, but acknowledge it and balance it with facts, data and potential consequences.

  1. Identify decision criteria: pressure necessitates defined guardrails for decision-making. Metrics and other factors create focus and mitigate emotional responses.

  1. Play the long-game: pressure can lead to short-term thinking. Evaluate the long-term of your decisions and consider their impact on your goals and objectives.

  1. Seek external perspectives: seek objective input from the people who operate outside of that pressure, from mentors to subject experts. They’re not living it and that’s invaluable.

  1. Practice decision-making under pressure: expose yourself to decision-making scenarios under controlled pressure. High-stakes resilience isn’t intuitive, it’s learned.

  1. Reflect on past experiences: you have a history of operating under pressure. See the patterns and lessons learned to inform how you’ll make decisions today.

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