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