Decision Making In Seven Steps
Updated: Aug 25
Decision-making, especially under pressing conditions, is not a skill that comes naturally to all of us.
The month of March is a time when we review our performance in the past year, which is why we have chosen ‘Decision Making’ as the theme for the month to help you get a good start in April.
While some of us hesitate, hoping to avoid making a wrong decision, the rest of us just avoid the situation itself. In some cases, we may make decisions based on personal feelings rather than the facts. Sometimes, we as a group could make a decision long after it is due and lose out on opportunities.
There are several schools of thought in decision making. Management is probably one of those fields where just gut instinct won't clinch deals. Gut instinct works best when there is a significant element of predictability. Managing a business or a team is a mix of situations that repeat themselves, in which experience-based intuitions are priceless, and new conditions, in which such intuitions are worthless. Using multiple decision strategies works well.
In this article, we discuss the seven-step process that helps you stop, evaluate and make a decision in a logical, articulate manner.
Decision Making In Steps
Step 1: Identify
Very often, it is easy to miss the opportunity to make a decision. Not all choices come as PowerPoint bullets, and not all meetings happen across tables. You may make a choice over a phone call or upon receiving an email. Each of these small decisions can impact your business. So, be mindful of situations where a decision is to be taken or maybe, asked of you.
Step 2: Be Informed
Impromptu decisions often yield short-term results. A sound decision is almost always made by asking plenty of questions. If you are unaware of a critical parameter that influences the decision, request for information. If you are unaware that you are unaware, sit down and make a list of all possible situations that may arise based on your decision, and then ask for information on these aspects.
Step 3: Weigh The Alternatives
Is there even a remote possibility that a particular task can be performed differently? If so, will your decision influence the direction in which the outcome goes? For example, you may have a choice to make on which campaign to run, but you may be ignoring the possibility of not running that campaign at all. Some of the worst ad campaigns of all time are a product of tunnel vision.
Step 4: Consider The Evidence
Even if you are very sure that you are on the right track, it is always a good idea to get inputs. Your team is your first point of reference. However, if you are planning a massive launch, you can test the idea or product out on a small group of people and ask for feedback. Use this feedback to decide if you are on the right course.
Step 5: Choose
A decision taken is better than ten that haven’t been. Once you have all the information and evidence you need, it is time to take a call and stand by it. Communicate to all stakeholders that the decision has been made.
Step 6: Implement
Now that you have made a decision and your team is on board, it is time to implement. Assign tasks to people and ensure they know exactly which step of the process they are involved in. Paint the bigger picture so they can see their contribution in action.
Step 7: Review
Sometimes, decisions made with the best intentions can also fall flat. This is why it is essential to review the effects of your choices from time to time. Were there implementation issues? Was the idea wrong? Was the timing off? Reviewing helps you identify areas for you to work on and helps make better choices in the future.