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LIV President's Blog 2012

LIV President's Blog 2013

Reynah Tang, LIV President 2013 on the latest issues and topics. Read and comment.

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Ten tips for making better decisions in 2014

Ten tips for making better decisions in 2014

It’s almost the end of the year and, if you're like me, the most stressful decision you have on your mind right now is what to buy your partner for Christmas (I mean life partner not managing partner, but some of the more career minded amongst you might be thinking about that as well).

Of course, a break is often a time to reflect and the New Year may bring more challenging decisions.

So, while I am not normally a Stephen Covey kind of person, I thought it might be a good time to share some tips on making tough decisions:


  1. Understand the decision you are being asked or need to make. Don’t be afraid to clarify the details.
  2. Be honest about the outcome you would like to achieve.  You don’t have to act on it (yet) but you should acknowledge it.
  3. Seek knowledge about the situation you are making a decision on.  Find out as much as you can about the history, who is involved and any other facts that might be relevant.
  4. Ask advice from a trusted mentor or someone who has experienced a similar situation.  You don’t need to follow their advice, but getting someone else’s perspective can help you better understand your own situation.
  5. Be strategic and do some scenario planning and risk assessment.  Try to imagine all the possible outcomes that could arise from any decision you make and the implications of those outcomes on you, or anyone else that would be impacted.
  6. Make a list of the pros and cons and prioritise which considerations are very important to you, and which are less so. Sometimes when you match the pros against the cons you may find them dramatically lopsided.
  7. Act decisively once you’ve made up your mind what to do.   Own your decision, for better or worse.  Sometimes making the wrong decision is better than making no decision at all and regretting it later.
  8. Assess the outcome and decide if the choice you made was the right one once all the information has come to light.  If not, see point 9.
  9. Revise your position, if necessary, by repeating steps 2 to 7 above. 
  10. Reflect on the outcomes and look at where you might have overlooked something crucial so that you are continuously improving your decision making.

Having guides to help in decision making can be important to make sure you don't miss relevant considerations or take account of things which are irrelevant. At an administrative level, the Law Institutes' Administrative Law Committee has recently produced “A User’s Guide to Administrative Decision Making.

The Guide is focused on administrative decisions made by public authorities (and some private entities) and provides steps to help government employees in making decisions according to law. It is now available from the LIV bookshop or free from the LIV website. It's designed to keep you out of court, and worth a read if making administrative decisions is your gig.

What are your tips for making tough decisions well? 

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