Decision MakingThere have been many snappy, decision-making, über-savvy people who have put smart quotes out into the Universe, and have written much about both making, and taking decisions. A Course In Miracles says ~ “our one remaining freedom as a prisoner of this world is the ability to make a decision”. But quotations such as this profound humdinger may come across as being intimidating for those of us who have difficulty in exercising their right to choice.

Making every-day, or business related decisions, does not necessarily make us think back on the Declaration of Independence, or reflect on the nature of freedom. For many of us making a choice is just not that deep. It comes naturally – like a bird does not make a conscious choice to fly – it just flies. But not everyone is made of the same stern stuff, and there are some of us who have difficulty in even exercising the smallest of choice.

Nevertheless, the ability to make well-timed, and well-considered business (for example) decisions, is considered to be an essential leadership skill. Fortunately decision-making is a leadership skill, like most skills, that can be learned. Many tools are available to help anyone make the best choices by simply using the information that they have available.

We all are required to make some sort of decisions every single day. Some are straightforward, others are far more complex, and require more complex processes in order to be made. Factors such as; uncertainty, consequences, alternatives, and interpersonal matters arise, however, with a clear process in place consistent results can be sustained.

Understanding how to achieve consistent results includes use of a systematic approach. Use of such an approach has the knock-on effect of improving the quality of most of the things we decide. Logic dictates that we address all of the significant elements required for making an effective decision. Organized systems ensure that no critical factors are left out.

It is necessary to create a productive environment, have good alternatives available, explore all alternatives, evaluate risk, choose the best one, and then, double-check a decision. After that it is full-steam ahead to communicate the choice, and take action. The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Model is a fabulous tool to use for establishing objectives, agreeing on processes, and getting the right people involved. It helps in creating a productive environment.

Generating alternatives assists us to dig deeper to uncover solutions. The more board-minded we are about the amount of available solutions, the more likely we are to make an effective decision. Similarly, generating ideas by brainstorming, and reverse brainstorming, leads to generating alternatives, as well as solutions. Crawford Slip Writing, and the Reframing Matrix are also good tools.

There are in fact so many marvellous analytical tools which make it simple for anyone to; organize ideas, explore alternatives, evaluate risk, validate impact, manage cost implications, check decisions, and much more. The point is to realise that this helps is available, and start making use of it. Once processes are practiced and put in place, it is a simple step to appreciate the freedom that strong decision making skills allow.