5 applications to help you make better decisions
There are apps for almost everything these days. So why not use an app that can help you capture and organize ideas and ultimately make important decisions? Here are five that do just that.
We all know that business performance is closely related to good decision making. (You can read all about it in the landmark Harvard Business Review study.) Make smart decisions about market trends and international expansion, and your business unit will grow. Avoid business intelligence dashboards and smart recommendations, and you’ll make bad decisions that will ruin your business. In fact, it is a series of micro-decisions that lead to a good strategy.
Fortunately, there are several apps that can help you track information, weigh options, and then make better decisions. CIO.com found the best options and asked leading experts in the field to give us tips on how to use these applications most effectively.
Note: With the recent release of the Apple iPad Pro, we’ve added some iPad options that now display variables better on the 12.9-inch screen.
1. All-round focus
The killer app for IT decision making is called OmniFocus. It’s a productivity app that helps you organize your work and life into clearly labeled tasks. The goal is to create more focus so you can make better decisions. One of the ways it helps is by providing context. You can mark tasks as related to making phone calls or responding to emails, and then perform those activities. Filters only show what you need to do today, this week, or only tasks for a specific project.
Tim Stringer, a well-known OmniFocus expert who lectures and teaches about using the app, says one of the most useful decision-making techniques is to separate your work tasks from your personal tasks. In an interview with CIO.com, he suggested a clear distinction between work and normal life, as it’s easy to confuse the two and lead to bad decisions.
Another tip has to do with moving projects and tasks. This is not just an act of prioritization to facilitate decision-making. “The delay feature in OmniFocus allows you to schedule when an action or even an entire project is available,” he says. “I recommend reviewing a daily list of all available promotions and deciding which promotions to offer today and which to defer to a later date. This process usually takes about 5 to 10 minutes, leaving a reasonable list of actions to choose from throughout the day. ”
Reviewing your tasks is critical, Stringer said, because it gives you a better idea of what’s coming up this week, and then prioritizes and strategizes based on workload.
“It’s important for executives to regularly review their OmniFocus database,” Stringer said. “I recommend a small review at the beginning and end of each day, a more comprehensive review weekly, and an in-depth monthly review that examines both short- and long-term goals. These reviews help build trust in the system, and Make sure OmniFocus accurately reflects priorities and commitments.”
CloverPop is another app designed to help you cut out distractions and focus on the options available. It helps you make decisions using a three-step process. First, you’ll use polls to get the opinions of key team members and gather their responses. You can share insights on how you use analytics and integrate your team as you make decisions. You can then get more information about that decision and receive more information. It is based on behavioral science, i.e. you need to centralize decision making and link it to the overall goals of the organization.
It is research based. According to CloverPop CEO Erik Larson, 95% of executives decide from just a few options without researching enough of them. He said that’s why every CloverPop decision must include at least four options. The app also requires you to involve at least five or six people to get their input, which he says shortens meetings as you initiate and facilitate discussions about app decisions.
David Daniels of Stanford Graduate School of Business (gsb. stanford.edu) said: “When making decisions, people tend to focus on what seems to be important here and now, and they are largely Other long-term and less important considerations are ignored.” . “Cloverpop’s tools challenge you to broaden your horizons about what you should consider, whether it’s the different alternatives you might choose or the potential impact of those alternatives. In this way, This tool will guide you in making decisions that are more in your long-term best interest.”
3. iThoughts for iPad
iThoughts is a Mac and iOS app for mind mapping that doesn’t sound all that esoteric. The idea is to break down a complex topic into easy-to-understand parts. It works a bit like an org chart, with the most important decisions in the middle and links to related topics. When you have separate tasks and decisions, it’s easier to see how they add up to the overall decision.
“The reverse is also true. When I have a lot of ideas and tasks, I can quickly list them and then group and categorize them into more manageable chunks, which helps me see the forest out of sight. At the end of the day, a mind map is A bulleted list for those who are more visually inclined,” said iThoughts developer Craig Scott.
The app follows a proven decision aid. You can design your own six hats chart, which divides decisions into six categories. You can make a mind map as a SWOT (Strengths, Opportunities, Weaknesses and Threats) to see decision variables. And you can quickly design PESTLE (political, economic, social, technological, legal, environmental) mind maps to analyze the impact of decisions.
4. Mind Manager 2016
Decision making is easier when you have all the information. This goes without saying, but visualizing data can be difficult. MindManager 2016 is a good example. If you need to make a decision about the network architecture, you can draw a diagram. When you need to make a layoff decision or make a departmental change, you can create an org chart. However, many of the drawing and illustration tools available are not suitable for untrained designers.
MindManager 2016 uses a drag-and-drop interface to simplify the process. Once you’ve completed a basic diagram or mind map, you can add attachments such as business documents or photos, mark sections of the diagram, and search and filter by those marks.
The app has also been recognized for its creative approach and advanced features. Biggerplate.com, a website that promotes and reports on mind mapping software, named it the best app in its Biggerplate 2015 Global Mind Mapping Survey (winner for the second year).
5. Thinking Nodes for iPad
When making difficult decisions, it can be helpful to write down your thoughts. MindNode is a simple note-taking and mind-mapping app for iPad (also for Mac). The main purpose of the application is to create “information nodes” – nodes that are part of key decisions. It’s not as advanced as MindManager 2016 and doesn’t have task-based mapping like OmniFocus, but it’s more free in nature, allowing you to quickly adjust nodes to see how your data will look.
The app works more like PowerPoint than a traditional mind-mapping tool. You create contours of variables – such as employees in a department or nodes in a network. The app allows you to create simple shapes and arrows to relate data. There’s even an Apple Watch component that lets you see your thoughts on the smartwatch screen (such as during a meeting).
“MindNode is useful for my personal brainstorming and for quick and crazy ideas in meetings,” Stringer said. “I found that a structured, visual way of assembling and presenting this information ultimately supports effective decision-making.”