Decision Making 101
At one time or another most of us can say we’ve faced difficulty with decision making.
It can be a challenge deciding what to do, and even when a decision has been made it can be easy to second-guess whether the right choice was made.
While there is no 100% guarantee there are a series of steps that can be taken to make the decision-making process more efficient and ideally more effective, ending with the best solution being selected for a given situation.
First Assess the Situation Thoroughly
The first step in any decision-making process should always be a thorough assessment of the problem at hand. The only way an adequate solution can be developed is with a deep understanding of the issues and any mitigating factors that play a role.
Things to be considered include who the situation/decision will impact,
- what information is needed to make a decision,
- what happens if no decision is made,
- and what is the timeline for making this decision,
- among several other considerations (Myatt, 2012).
With these types of questions answered and the accompanying information in hand, a more well-informed decision can be made.
Carefully Outline Your Options
The best decisions are made with careful consideration.
This means not automatically going with the first solution that may pop into your head.
Adequate time should be taken to develop a list of possible options to address the issue at hand.
Analyze Cost, Benefits, Risks, & Rewards
A vital part of the decision-making process is weighing every option that has been generated.
A cost/benefits analysis can be used to determine what each option would cost versus what the benefits of each option would be.
Additionally, assessing all the possible rewards of a particular decision versus all the possible risks associated with that same decision. This provides more of a well-rounded picture of all the options while helping to weed out options that might not be so viable (Mind Tools, 2018).
Consult Someone More Experienced
It can often be helpful to consult someone with more experience in a particular area when trying to make a difficult challenge.
The goal should not be to find out what decision they would make if in your shoes and facing the same circumstances. But rather to glean information about what they would consider and how they would go about coming to a decision if in a similar situation.
Develop An Alternative Course of Action
It is always wise to have a backup plan because let’s face it, things can and often do go wrong.
In the event that the decision made turns out not to be the best decision, having a contingency plan allows for a quick switch to be made if needed.
Additionally, the stress of a “what now” scenario can be avoided as a plan has already been devised and can be implemented with ease and a sense of urgency.
Finally Implement the Decision
Once all the prior steps have been taken, the last step is to actually make and implement the decision.
The prior steps will help to flesh out the best option given the consideration of costs, benefits, risks, and rewards.
Thus, the decision made should be one that can be carried out with confidence and the reassurance that a backup plan waits in the wings if needed.
Hesitation and doubt can lead to a situation whereby the issue at hand becomes magnified, so swift action is an asset.
With these outlined steps you can have confidence that your decision making process has been well thought out and that all the vital considerations have been taken into account.
Thus, you can act confidently and make decisions that are the best for the situation at hand.
To your continued success,
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