Write down and track decisions to improve your judgment over time. If you are not evaluating your decisions, how do you know you are making the right choices? Good outcomes are not a good indicator of a good decision. How much was due to luck? Making good decisions requires practice. If you don’t track and evaluate your decisions, you don’t have a feedback loop or a way to improve. Discipline and humility are required.
At work, writing down and sharing decisions also prevents problems by ensuring all people involved in the process are aligned. You don’t have time to read the notes from every meeting, so sharing decisions in writing provides an efficient way to communicate key information and flag problems before they grow bigger.
Recording your decisions also keeps you honest. Our memories are unreliable and susceptible to distortion. Most of us can retrieve only 50% of the information we learned an hour ago. Don’t believe me? Take this quick test: Do you remember how many email messages you sent yesterday? Most likely not—unless you are intentionally tracking and recording the results.
Poor memory leads to hindsight bias, which is remembering events as more predictable than they were at the time we made the decision. Hindsight bias makes us think less critically and become overconfident in our abilities.
Tracking decisions keeps us accountable. Who was involved in making the decision? What were the factors and assumptions driving it? You don’t need to write down every small decision you make. However, every important decision should be written down.
Set a quarterly review cycle to evaluate important decisions with your team. What decisions did you get right? Why? What mistakes did you make? A review allows you to reflect on your mistakes and why you made them, which ultimately allows you to improve.
Write down and track your decisions to improve your judgement and learn from mistakes.