Hi Film Doctor Friends.
We all need to take big decisions at some point – in personal and professional life – and often this needs to be done speedily and under pressure. So how do you avoid panic modes and deal with tricky questions effectively and efficiently?
1) Get to the heart of the matter
First and foremost when facing a difficult decision, you should assess the situation from every possible angle/perspective – not just your take on it. Hear out other people – how do they see the matter in question, because the first step for any major decision is based on critically and objectively dissecting its different elements.
2) Seek & weigh up different point of views
We are wired to base our decisions on previous experiences. So the first thing we usually do, when confronted with a big choice, is remember whether we’ve already been in a similar situation and what the outcome was.
It’s dangerous to always rely on experiences, as it limits our perception of the matter. Find out some counter-arguments, seek other people’s experiences. And base your decision on the heart of the issue – which you found in step 1.
3) Foster boldness
Often, the time you’ve got to make a certain decision is very limited. This is especially true for decisions made in production offices / on film sets – and those of you who take the Director’s/Producer’s role are going to be constantly exposed to this kind of decision-making demand. So timeliness is crucial. You need to learn not only to analyse the matter in depth, but to do so fast. And sometimes, don’t spend too much time analysing at all – go with your gut instinct, so to speak. Be bold in your approach. Even if the decision feels ‘controversial’ or you’ve never dealt with that issue before, pick one solution and stick with it – most of the time it will be the right one (and in times where it isn’t, at least your timely reaction would be appreciated). If you’re a team leader, it’s all about helping your guys move forward.
4) Provide clarity
When you’re working in a team, it’s not enough to just make a decision – it needs to be communicated well, too. Because a decision not well communicated is a decision not well understood – and, therefore, not well executed. It is important that everyone involved is clear about the “whys” and the “whats”, otherwise instead of resolving the issue, you’ll waste precious time fixing more problems & misunderstandings.