Good Decisions

Posted on May 15 2009

Do I make good decisions? Every day is filled with decisions, and many are made by our subconscious. Others are so routine, we don’t realize we are making them. If you ask yourself, “Am I a good decision maker?”

If you aren’t (or don’t think you are), no need to panic. Decision making is a skill that can be learned by anyone. Some may find this particular skill easier than others, most people apply a similar process. Great decision makers use experience and tricks and tried methods to test their actions.

Good Decisions are made by diligent attention to detail, and/or tried and proven models and approaches. Knowledge of decision tools in application also contributes to the good decision. Skills as an analyst are a factor as well.

There are two basic kinds of decisions: those that are made by using a specific process and those that are just reactive. Although both kinds of decisions contain opportunities and learning experiences, there are definite advantages to using a specific process to make a decision.

The most obvious advantage is the reduced level of stress you will experience. Another is the quality of the result, and satisfaction in making it.

Wise decisions are decisions that are made using a structured process. They are based on the values and perceptions of the decision-maker within a decision framework and include carefully considered alternatives and options along with periodic reassessments of the decision and its effects.

Wise decisions may or may not follow the status quo, or popular beliefs and expectations. However, they are right for the decision maker based on what they know about themself and their alternatives within the context of the situation.

Here are some characteristics and actions of good decisions:

–Good decision makers organize their thinking so that they can improve the speed and quality of the decisions they make.

–Good decisions are the result of effective thinking

–Good decision makers assess the decision to be made, and use the amount of data, process and tools which are relative to the size and importance of the decision

–Spend time on analytical and creative thinking so that you can balance issues and make decisions that result in effective action.

–A logical decision-making process will enable you to become quicker at thinking things through and reaching “right-first-time” decisions. –If you approach a decision in an organized manner, and then meet the same situation again, the value of your original thinking is repaid. –Well organized thinking will be of benefit to other people in your organization. Make sure others can make use of the thinking you have put into a decision by taking notes about how you arrived at the decision.

–Making a decision that will ensure the most effective outcome the first time relies on a good understanding of what is the best choice. Sometimes “best” means “within budget”. In this case, you can only make a decision based on cost. In other instances, time is the crucial factor. Sometimes “best” means the best way to fix a problem or to exploit an opportunity. Carefully document the parameters around which the decision is made.

–If your reputation is based on the quality and design of your product, you will need to spend the money and take the time necessary to get the best design.

–Look for and focus on the most crucial outcome.

–Define focus – and focus on outcomes

–Time – is the schedule the most important criterion?

–Cost – is the budget flexible or fixed?

–Performance – is product quality the overriding factor?

–Quality – is quality the top priority? The decision will take time and so will production.

These were some characteristics of good decision making, but are definitely not an exhaustive list. Try some of our information on various Decision Making Tools and Decision Making Models

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