How to Improve Your Decision Making Skills

Every day, you have to make decisions personally and professionally. And the ability to make timely decisions is not only one of the traits that the greatest leaders possess, but also one of the fundamental employability skills as stated by the Conference Board of Canada. You will face situations where the decision you have to make is obvious, while at other times, you have to pause, and gather the information that you need. Decision making is often a stage in the problem solving process. To make sure that you make the best possible decision in every situation, it is important to follow a decision making process.

Decision making is a teachable skill. And there are eight steps to the decision making process.

  1. Define the decision that you have to make in clear and simple language.
    1. How important is the decision?
    2. Why does the decision have to be made?
    3. What is the impact of not deciding?
    4. Who will be impacted by the decision, and how?
    5. What are the desired outcomes of making the decision?
    6. How much time is available for making the decision?
    7. Develop a set of decision criteria to judge the quality of each solution to assess its suitability.>/li>
  2. Every decision is a response to a situation, what are the root causes of the situation? Collect information that will help you to make the decision.
    1. Collect files and records.
    2. Talk to stakeholders.
    3. Look at case studies and best practices.
  3. Read and analyze the information that you gathered.
    1. How accurate is the information?
    2. Are there diverse viewpoints?
    3. Distill the facts pertinent to the decision to be made.
  4. Develop possible solutions based on the analysis.
  5. Evaluate the quality of each solution using the pre-established criteria.
    1. State the advantages and disadvantages of each solution.
    2. What are the costs, benefits and implication of implementing each option?
    3. State obstacles to each option and how they can be managed.
  6. Make a decision.
    1. Is the option consistent with the mission, goals and objectives of the organization?
    2. Select the best option.
  7. Implement the decision.
    1. Put the decision into action.
    2. Does the decision feel right to you?
  8. Test the decision you made (Did it do what it was supposed to do?)
    1. Did the decision resolve the situation?
    2. If not, how can you rework it? You may have to go through the process again.

The more you work with the decision making process outlined above, the more comfortable you will become with making decisions, and you will learn to do so in a timely manner.