7-Step Guide to Good Decision-Making
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Some decisions are almost automatic. We don’t even know we’re making them. When you’re driving, for example, or cooking your favorite meal. But others are complex and tricky, like deciding on whether to invest in a new business or launch a new product.
When you have to make difficult decisions like these, you’ll need to weigh up many competing factors and consider lots of different potential outcomes. After all, you don’t want to get it wrong. But how can you ensure that the decisions you make are as risk-free as possible?
First, consider the decision in context. What’s the real issue here? Is it a straightforward problem or part of something that’s much deeper and more complex? Chances are there’s more than one factor that you’ll need to consider. So be sure to gather as much feedback and information as possible from all of the people or departments involved.
Your decision will likely impact others. So be sure to involve them in the process. This is especially true if you will be relying on other people to implement your decision. Think about who you should include in the process and create an environment where they feel safe to share their ideas and thoughts freely.
When you have lots of options to choose from, you may feel overwhelmed, but actually, the more alternatives, the better your final decision will be. So be as creative as possible when brainstorming solutions.
When you are satisfied, you’ve got a viable range of realistic options. Explore them thoroughly. How feasible are they? What risks are involved? And what impact will they have on colleagues, departments, and the organization?
Now, it’s time to make your final decision. If you have various criteria, you need to evaluate your decisions against. Tools like Decision Matrix Analysis or Paired Comparison Analysis can be useful.
Remember to build fairness and impartiality into this final decision-making stage. You could, for example, use the Delphi method, which involves getting people to participate in cycles of anonymous, written discussion and argument. Doing this ensures all opinions are considered equally before you go ahead.
Once you have made your final decision, sense-check it. Delve deep into the implications and be objective. Remember, your final decision is only as good as the data and research you based it on. So double-check that your information is trustworthy. Discuss your conclusions with key stakeholders. And give them time to provide feedback.
Now that the decision’s been given final approval, communicate it to everyone affected. Be clear on the detail and underline the positives. People will be more motivated to get on board if they can understand why the decision’s been made, and how it will benefit them and the organization. Finally, be open to criticism as long as it’s constructive. Someone might raise a good point that you hadn’t considered. If this happens, review your plans and adapt them.
To learn more about how to make good decisions, read the article that accompanies this video.