Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Solving decision-making problems

Decision-Making is hard work. How often do we procrastinate on making decisions? Wait, wait, maybe we know more tomorrow! Or another day ...

One of the key issues is missing decisiveness. Making decisions is hard, because we are not well trained to decide. Although we know many decision-making tools, they are seldomly used. Why? Because we all do not concentrate on decision making and getting better at it. Like a top athlete, we need to train and prepare our decision making skills. Plus we need to review our decision-making performance.

Getting better at decision making

How many of you keep a list of todos? Do you keep a list of all the decisions required by you and by when? If you create an inventory of the necessary decisions, you are all of a sudden astonished: You are making many more decisions than you are aware. But you are definitely aware of the decisions that you are delaying or which feel difficult or those where you do not like the outcome.

Solving decision-making problems is a challenging task requiring more decisions and a standard approach:

  1. Decide that you want to do something about it and create a list of decisions that you need to take.
  2. Rank them by importance - okay another set of decisions. 
  3. Identify a "Best by"-decision date - if a certain decision is required by a due date, note the due date.
  4. Sort the decisions by priority and date, first all with the highest priority then the others by date-first and then priority.
  5. Look at the three topmost important decisions by priority and three most urgent decisions by date.
  6. Identify for each of these six decisions, if you have all the necessary information and data for your decision
  7. Add todos to gather the required information
  8. Once the information is available, collect all your thoughts and use the appropriate decision technique to apply the information
  9. Make the decisions and document your decision
  10. Review your decisions after a week to understand whether your decisions were right or not. 

Review of your decision making list

After a month of documented decision making, you can check and review your decision-making training. What went well, what went wrong? How did you deal with the different issues? Where do you need more improvement? What kind of techniques and tools do you need to be more timely with your decisions? How can you become more efficient and effective in decision making?

Identify, which decisions are required from you on a regular basis and which require the most effort from you. Develop an approach to decide these - what is the decision approach, which tool to use, which information is needed and which data or presentation format is best-suited for you. Then you can start to improve your decision making.

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