Effective Decision Making

March 22nd, 2011 | Posted by John Kapeleris in Problem Solving

We are faced with many decisions on a daily basis both in our work and personal lives, for example:

  • Do we pursue a new business, product or market opportunity?
  • Do we proceed with establishing a new collaborative partnership?
  • Do we accept an invitation to attend a network meeting?
  • Do we take the family on another vacation even though the budget is tight?

Decision making is a mental function that involves selecting a course of action among alternative options and involves making a final choice. Decision making is critical to managing and leading individuals, teams and organizations. Following is a model that outlines where decision making and choice making occur in a problem solving context. 

The model begins with the realisation that an undesirable state  (a problem) exists and that a solution needs to be identified and implemented. The decision making stages involve firstly the diagnosis of a problem, followed by the generation of alternative solutions and finally choosing an appropriate solution. 

Decision making on a daily basis may involve the following approaches:

  • Choosing the first option that comes to mind (based on past experience) which is perceived to be likely to achieve the desired outcome
  • Listing the advantages and disadvantages of a situation, then making a decision
  • Making a list of available options and then choosing the most appropriate option to acheive the desired outcome
  • Decision making based on intuition
  • Flipping a coin to make a decision

When faced with difficult decisions it is best to utilise a systematic approach to achieve the best outcomes. An effective decision making approach is outlined below:

  1. Outline the goal and desired outcome you wish to achieve.
  2. Gather the available data and information to provide background knowledge on the situation.
  3. Brainstorm to develop a number of alternative solutions.
  4. Evaluate each alternative by determining the advantages and disadvantages for each option, and the likely impact it will create.
  5. Make the decision by choosing the most optimal solution.
  6. Implement the solution immediately by taking action.
  7. Evaluate the outcome, and learn from and reflect on the decision making.

Dr John Kapeleris

Did you like this? Share it:
Be Sociable, Share!

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 You can leave a response, or trackback.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *