I did everything right.
I sought outside advice. I asked the candidates to answer the same questions and provide the same information. I kept everyone on the same timeline. I provided the same access to information for everyone. I developed a spreadsheet so all candidates could be compared side-by-side. And, I organized my priorities establishing the criteria that should lead to an obvious decision.
Yet, when everything was entered and scored, there was no clear winner. The top two choices were equally good; actually, better than good—they were great.
So how do I make a choice?
Making a Choice
I think everyone has been through a similar situation, whether it is trying to decide on which college to attend, which car to buy, or where to go to lunch. Some choices are big, such as who to marry or which job to take. Some are small, such as brown shoes or black.
Through the experience of my recent decision-making process, I have come up with several important things to remember about decision-making.
First, Cannot Go Wrong
Assuming you have done the work to determine you have two excellent choices, be comfortable in the realization you cannot go wrong. Either choice will meet all your needs and satisfy your requirements.
Second, Additional Measures
Look at your decision-making criteria to see if there is an additional measure that can be added to differentiate the choices. Does one have easier website access, prefer to provide their service in the morning, or has a billing cycle that better fits your accounts payable? Although these are small, nearly insignificant items, that is precisely what you are looking for to tip the scale.
Finally, Make a Choice
If nothing clearly distinguishes one of the choices over the other, pick a random decision-making method and use it. Cut a deck of cards with your business partner, flip a coin, or do rock-paper-scissors. At this point, just decide so you can move forward.
Make a Decision and Move On
Now you have made a decision, act immediately. Visit the losing party immediately, look them in the eye, thank them for their effort, and tell them they lost (professionally and courteously). There is no good way to convey the message where it will not be painful, but they need to know, and they must hear it from the decisionmaker—you.
Once you have informed the losing party, it’s all downhill from there. The winning party will be happy, and the process is over for you. Don’t look back and don’t second guess.
Let God Help
Many of us are comfortable letting God be part of the decision. If so, He should be relied on throughout the entire decision process through prayer.
For me, asking God to help make a decision never reveals a definitive choice. But talking to someone, in this case, God, has a way of uncovering things you don’t acknowledge when evaluating decisions logically, such as using a spreadsheet.
Through prayer I ask more global questions, think of different alternatives, and look at the decision process from a different perspective. God’s ways are foreign to us. He has a way of revealing His directions through different means (Isaiah 55:8-9) that are not always obvious to us.
Regardless of the method used to make a decision, we never know how our decision will turn out. Our best choice might end up a disaster. And God’s part of the process doesn’t guarantee the decision will turn out as we hope, but it does guarantee it will turn out as He planned. If He was there in the beginning, He will be there whatever the decision brings.
God never promised He would remove uncertainty or problems from our lives. He only promised He would be there with us – and He will be.