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We make decisions every day. Some of them are unconscious like kind of coffee to order, or which way to turn at the lights on your way to work. For more important decisions, it is useful to follow a decision making process. This is the 10 step process for great decisions:
1. Set your Goals- What is it you want to accomplish? What are your expected outcomes of the decision?
2. Determine decision criteria - What are the characteristics you want the decision to meet? i.e. cost, quality, low risk, satisfied shareholders, fit with existing software.
3. Stakeholders – Who has a stake in the decision or who will be affected by it? It is imperative that you get buy-in from stakeholders for successful implementation of the decision.
4. Investigate the external environment - What is happening outside of you that could impact you in the future? What’s the probability of these things happening and what should you do NOW about the important ones?
5. Gather information - Gather numbers, data, and feedback from many reliable sources.
6. Be realistic on amount of information to gather - Many decision makers have a tendency to seek more information than required to make a good decision. Attempting to gather too much information could cause a delay in the decision, which could have negative impact on the effectiveness of the solution. Trying to gather too much information could cause analysis paralysis which is an inability to make a decision.
7. Identify alternatives - Use creativity techniques to expand your ideas beyond what you would automatically generate. Include “do nothing” as an alternative.
8. Evaluate - Look atrisks, costs, timing and benefits & anything else from your decision criteria for each alternative.
9. Rate each alternative - What are the benefits to the organization of each option?
10. Make the decision - Make the decision based upon the desired outcomes, decision criteria, the impact on whose involved, what’s happening in the external environment, the information you gathered, and the risks & benefits.
FINALLY, implement the decision, communicate to those impacted & people from whom you gathered information, and then evaluate the implementation.
Decision making is an iterative process, expect go back and update your decision making criteria or add another person who is impacted.
If you want to "up" your decision making skills, contact me Valerie.MacLeod@HainesCentre.com
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