A Simple Decision Making Process
We all are involved in making decisions every day – many are just routine and require little thought, many we have made numerous times before, some we do automatically.
Some we sadly keep getting wrong!
When we have to make an important decision we need a different approach. This is because the bigger the decision the greater the pain of getting things wrong.
We HAVE to make the best decision that we can and this can only be done with a solid framework to rely upon.
A good approach is to use the process below:
- Evaluate the situation: what exactly are the issues?
- Do you actually need to make a decision at this point? Can things be left as they are until the position becomes clearer?
- Define the problem: what are the issues? Use accurate language so that someone not connected with the problem can fully understand the situation.
- Clarify the objectives: what are you trying to achieve by your course of action?
- Collect relevant data: justify the approach that you are going to take based on the numbers, thinking about the patterns that emerge from carefully looking at the numbers and thinking about what your change will to create new numbers.
- Generate alternatives: NEVER be satisfied with just one possible course of action as this means increasing the risk of getting a bad decision. (Only use this if there is a real emergency that needs a decision immediately).
- Evaluate the alternatives you have identified: be clinical and honest in doing this.
- Make a decision: go for the best option identified.
- Implement the chosen decision making sure that it is FULLY justifiable.
- Monitor your decision: NEVER just walk away thinking that this is the end of the matter. Make sure that you gather data to prove that you have made the right decision.
- Evaluate: has the problem been solved or do you need to go around the loop again?
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