We take decisions every day – big or small , personal or professional. Decision making is intrinsic to our existence and growth. we all have our fair share shares of decisions that we regret we should not have taken. The right decision was taken at the right time leaves a significant influence on our personal and professional life. How to take the right decisions is a skill that we need to master and implement like other skills which are essential for personal and professional growth this is assumed important when we take decisions for our people, organization for the nation. It is this wisdom of taking sound decisions that transform a professional into a great leader. Often we see leaders making poor decisions because they opt for a poor choice or option. The outcome of a decision can make or mar a leader. Decision making and problem-solving skills are essential for our personal and professional growth. Dealing with problems , and move forward is a strong reflection on our ability to negotiate and solve problems. Today organizations critically assess the decision making the ability of the people they recruit because decision making and negotiation play a vital role in the productivity enhancement of the organization.
What is decision making?
Decision making is integral to our life 24*7. Decision making is the process of examining the available options, comparing them and choosing the most viable option in given circumstances. An important part of any decision-making process is to find a way to evaluate plenty of complex information related to the subject or issue of decision making for the timely selection of the most suitable option. Great leaders are characterized by the value they add to the decision making process. They are endowed with the virtue of correctly analyzing information and choosing the right course of action to settle a crisis or diffuse a dilemma . Mike Myatt endorses the need for ‘hierarchy of knowledge’ or the kind of information or resources available to decision making
He finds that the hierarchy of knowledge is instrumental in effective decision making and it could have the following attributes :
Gut Feelings : Sometimes decisions take on the basis of gut feelings turn out to be good decisions. However, it is not prudent to always take decisions purely on the basis of gut feelings or instincts. Gut feelings operate like an emotional filter in the absence of other decisive filters to support a decision. Our instincts work great when we combine them with other reliable analytics to arrive at a decision.
Data: Raw data is just a complex set of facts statistics or inadequate resources that may not be of much value in decision making . Poor and incomplete data may lead to worst decision making .
Information: it is a somewhat complete and independent data set that has been gathered after processing random facts and statics . It is considered a more clear and valuable form of knowledge for use in decision making.
Knowledge : It is the best form of information which results from in-depth analysis and verification . It is high – quality robust knowledge based on research that leads to real performance and right decision making . it is a real action-oriented insight that you amass after churning up the oceans of information . It is a ‘doable’ thing that gives authenticity and confidence of decision making to leaders as it is based on research and testing.
However, it is mandatory to confirm the source of knowledge leading to a particular decision. Any bias in that go into decision making may lead to wrong decisions and their adverse impact. Sources of knowledge must be credible and what they offer particular information should be evaluated before using that information in decision making.
Steps for decision making
Decision making is at the heart of everything that happens in an organization: planning, organizing, controlling, directing and staffing. nothing moves at the modern workplace without decision making . Good decision making addresses all management and organization issues,e leading to meaningful solutions . To make the right decision , one must go through the steps described in the following sections :
- Know your problem: No decision making could be complete and meaningful unless we have a clear idea of what is to be decided. Therefore, first, try to zero in on the actual problem.
- Analyze the problem: any issue or problem that is to be settled needs through probing from different perspectives to avoid poor decision making about its solution. The problem must be analyzed in totality. If the problem is diagnosed, the decision regarding its solution is more likely to be positive and beneficial. You need to answer the following critical questions to investigate a problem or issue in-depth :
- How important is to make a decision?
- What is its probable impact?
- What would happen in case of no decision? What information do you need to come to a decision?
- Collect your data: the kind of information or knowledge that you are going to apply to solve a specific problem matters most in effective decision making. the workplace is inundated with information easy access to which has been facilitated by communication technology. It is advantageous to have relevant and updated information that can help make decisions based on facts about reality. Use of well – researched knowledge in decision making brings clarity about possible solutions and infuses confidence in the decision-makers.
- Develop Alternatives: it is a crucial stage of the decision-making process in which you think of all possible solutions that could be applied to the problem under consideration. Alternatives that are practical and cost-effective should be considered. Many factors are considered while developing alternatives. Great leaders consider time, technology, resources and budget along with other constraints while devising alternative solutions for a problem. All the people involved in finding the solution should be encouraged to express their ideas for the best alternatives.
- Choose the best alternatives: After devising possible alternative solutions, it is time to select the best one. The most suitable alternative usually has more merits and fewer demerits. leaders look into each alternative and select the one with a higher probability of acceptance or success in terms of cost, time and human resources.
- Make the decision: It is the moment to give your best shot. After examining thoroughly all the alternatives, you make your decision and communicate it to everyone affected by this decision. All the important stakeholders should be taken into confidence and explained how and why you have arrived at this decision. An action plan is to be put in place for implementing the solution and people should be encouraged to support the solution. A Good decision creates a positive work environment by solving the problem. It gives good results and positive future directions. Further, a decision needs constant monitoring and evaluation to know how it is implemented, what are its consequences. What is people’s feedback and what adjustments are needed?
- Have a backup plan: if youIf you best decision fails to solve the problem, you need to figure out what went wrong improper identification of the problem. Improper identification of the problem, inappropriate alternatives, illogical assessment problems, and poor implementation could be some reasons behind the failure of your decision. This requires a read look into the problem from a new perspective. smart managers always prepare themselves to face the adverse fallout of their decision as they know things will not go as well as planned. They always have something to fall back upon when things go wrong
As a leader, you intend to take the best possible decision to solve a problem. However, every problem needs Thorough investigation for taking the best possible decision to solve it for this, you need to apply one or more problem-solving technique to understand how best the problem can be solved with available alternative solutions. Described below are some of the practical and widely used techniques for finding and optimal solution for a problem :
- Brainstorming: Clear and creative approach for developing alternatives. Brainstorming all members of a group, entrusted with solving a problem, together with about the problem and contribute their ideas to arrive at a solution. The basic idea behind brainstorming is to get fresh ideas from all group members. For the success of brainstorming, every idea should be welcomed and the group member should refrain from judging each other’s ideas on the spot
- Nominal group: it is one step ahead of brainstorming as it includes a voting process to rank the ideas or solutions generated by group members. Every member of the group gets equal representation in the group to contribute to the decision making. First, every member states his or her solutions briefly explaining the reason why he or she opted for the solution. then all the solution are listed and later on ranked through voting to choose the most valued one. The idea of receiving the maximum vote is accepted for implementation. In this decision-making technique, it is the job of the facilitator to encourage all group members to share their choice and then invite them to rank all the choices and select the best one.
- Delphi Technique: This technique engages all group members to express their ideas through questionnaires about a possible solution of a specific problem. The group leader help in filling up of questionnaire by individual members who never meet in person. This process of solutions search please repeating as members share the responses define them until a solution is reached
- 5 whys: No problem can have only one root cause or reason. The 5 whys technique enables you to know the multiple causes of a problem serious it analyses potential cost and profit associated with different alternative solution. In this technique a single problem is explored extensively by repeating the question why. This technique is used to establish the cause and effect relationship of a given problem. The success of this technique depends on how appropriate are the questions asked to find the cause of the problem and its solution.
- Cost/ benefit analysis: This technique helps in weighing the financial implications of each alternative proposed for a project on business solution. It analysis potential cost and profit associated with different alternative solutions. The best part of this analysis is that it will explain whether the cost exceeds the projections or benefits for short of expectations .
- Multi voting: Brainstorming generate many ideas to handle a problem, whereas multi-voting is effective when many people are part of decision making. through multi voting list of choices reduced or narrowed down small list of top choices for further consideration for research. This technique is greatly helpful when an opinion is favored by most people but it’s not the top priority of anyone of them.
- Decision matrix Analysis: Is a powerful technique for making a decision. It enables leaders to assess all available options and prioritise them when searching for a solution for a complex problem. This technique is highly useful when you have a number of good alternatives and many other factors to look into for taking a crucial decision. You use this technique by listing all values (options ) in rows and all factors in columns in a tabular form. You can give each combination (rows and columns)a weighted ranking to ascertain which factor is crucial in decision making. All the factors on which option is added up to no the highest court about what decision is to be made or what issue is to be addressed first.
While taking any decision, leaders must weigh the pros and cons of these techniques and choose the one or maybe a combination to serve their organisational purpose in the best possible way.
Decision making and problem solving ability are the key skills for doing good in business and life . How we explore a problem and come to a solution exhibit our managerial acumen and leadership vision . Decision making is a process of weighing our choices comparing them and taking the right call. Making a good decision leader must have clear thinking, strong Convection and effective implementation of good decision
Name: Aswathi Nair
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