Decision Making Process
Following are many strategies for a decision making process.
Do you set goals which never come to completion?
Would you like to be a public speaker or a good conversationalist?
So many aspirations require making decisions. Lack of completing your wishes may be because you are not taking the steps for effective decision making.
The seven steps to effective decision making are:
- Identify the decision
- Gather relative information
- Identify the alternatives
- Weigh the evidence
- Choose amongst the alternatives
- Take action
- Review the decision
Step 1 Identify the decision
- Start by considering the decision in the context of the problem which is to be addressed.
- Determine whether the stated problem is the real issue or a symptom of something else.
- Can the matter be approached in isolation or are there a number of interrelated factors to consider? Will there be knock-on effects making the decision ineffective?
- Clearly define the problem to be solved, know the goal you plan to achieve by implementing this decision and how you will measure success. (reference SMART goal setting)
- Create a constructive environment for the decision making. A decision may need to be made by you. Alternatively, it may involve working with others which requires a process and who will be part of the final decision-making group. Enable people to contribute without fear of personal rejection, including their ideas. The aim is to make the best decision.
Step 2 Gather relevant information
Points to consider are:
- Is there any historical data which relates to the issue?
- Has anyone solved the problem before?
- What information is required? What are the best sources and how to obtain it?
- Seek internal information – gather other opinions, collect current and past data, and recognise trends, use internal references
- Seek external information – research, webinars, conferences, working with a consultant, talking to others with relevant experience
Step 3 Identify the alternatives
Identify as many different solutions for the problem. This forces you to dig deeper and look at the problem from different angles.
It can be helpful to use a variety of creative thinking techniques which assist thinking outside normal thinking patterns to bring innovative solutions.
Step 4 Weigh the evidence
- Are you satisfied there is a good selection of realistic alternatives?
- Evaluate each alternative in terms of Step 1 considerations.
- Evaluate the feasibility, risks, cost-benefit analysis and implications of each alternative. (SWOT Analysis, Decision Matrix Analysis and Paired Comparison Analysis can be used to weigh the evidence)
- Listing the pros and cons
- Place in priority order
Step 5 Choose amongst the alternatives
Consider all the information and how the decision may affect each team member
The top priority in Step 4 may be chosen. Alternatively, a blend of the alternatives may be chosen. Effective decision-making involves creative problem solving and thinking outside the box. Don’t be limited by clear-cut options.
Step 6 Take action
Once the decision has been made the solution needs to be implemented with a plan and monitoring progress. Monitoring can include:
- Listening to your own intuition
- Spotting flaws
- Making recommendations
- Willing to be flexible to quickly adapt to change
Step 7 Review the decision
Evaluate whether or not the decision and its consequences has resolved needs in Step 1.
If the matter is not resolved, you may need to repeat the decision process to make a new decision or reassess the sections which did not work and revisit ideas from the alternatives.
Leaders face 5 key themes for efficient and effective decision making (as noted by Merryck & Co.)
1. Insular thinking
Effective leaders think outside the box
2. Collective intelligence
Effective leaders gain and understand many perspectives and options
3. Avoid the temptation of the “right” solution
Effective leaders avoid the first right solution; often there are many right solutions
Effective leaders are nimble, flexible and adaptable to adjust and re-adjust resources and processes quickly
Effective leaders are authentic, bringing their whole selves to the tasks and participate fully and honestly. Authentic behaviour encourages engagement, enthusiasm and motivation to others.
Achieve your goals by being an effective decision maker