Undoubtedly decision making is a key skill that is used in all aspects of life. It is a mental procedure where you choose a particular option amongst several available options or scenarios and act upon the one you choose. You can get better at decision making by honing your skills for it in the following top 10 ways:
1. Use a decision making model: Some of the most popular and effective decision making models are – The Vroom-Yetton-Jago decision model, The Kepner-Tregoe Matrix, OODA Loops, etc. The basis of the Vroom-Yetton-Jago model is that there is no fixed leadership method or decision making model that suits all situations and so you need to use a logical approach that takes into account the usefulness of participative management and the requirement to make effective decisions. On the other hand, the Kepner-Tregoe Matrix is an organized method where you evaluate and give importance to both risks and advantages of the available options. The OODA Loops model helps you be proactive, anticipate probable obstacles and work around them in environments that are unpredictable and quick decisions are required. Decision models are not perfect but definitely assist you in being consistent in your thinking and rationally analyzing the situations.
2. Deciding amidst uncertainty: There is always some uncertainty; especially, while you are deciding as you do not know what the exact consequences might be. Quantifying the non-numerical areas of the alternatives available, shortlist some of the most suitable options and evaluate what the results of each decision might be to arrive at the most suitable one. Decision tree analysis, Scenario analysis, Mote Carlo analysis etc are some of the approaches that you can practice while making decisions in uncertain situations.
3. Perspectives matter: This technique is also called ’6 Thinking Hats’ as in this approach you need to place yourself as the various customers or people and then explore the different types of thinking or perceptions that can be possible. This approach calls for perspectives that act as a critic’s point of view, rationality, emotional aspects, etc. Your wide imaginations about the different perspectives will only help dissect the result of the decision that might be.
4. Risky business: Risks are involved during decision making and it differs in your capacity or inclination towards taking up risks. Extreme behavior effects the decision making capabilities, whether it is high inclination towards taking risks, or exercising absolutely cautious behavior towards risks. The probability of making a responsible decision, therefore, will come when the approach to risks is balanced. The overtly risk-friendly person needs to adopt caution and think well and not rush into making a decision. On the other hand a person who is by nature averse to taking risks should try to take the risks so as to not let a good opportunity or a decision pass by.
5. Avoiding common flaws while deciding: The most common types of flaws that you do while deciding are when decisions are based on assumptions and if the assumptions are not based on facts then the outcome of such decisions can be disastrous. Jumping to conclusions indicate that the decision is not well thought of and has been arrived by blind faith in something that may not be true at all. Over confidence about your capability of judgment or ignoring the facts and going by gut-feeling can be proven wrong. So, by avoiding such faulty thinking ensures a better success rate of your choices and decisions made.
6. Pressure advantages: Before you make a decision you are well aware of the pros and cons of the probable decisions and this adds to the pressure that is already present. However, what can make the load easier to carry is if you have a contingency plan in place or probable options that you could pick in case the decision you have made brings undesirable results. This is greatly helpful because many a times there are unanticipated problems or the time to find solutions and make decisions may hardly be at your disposal. So, preparing beforehand for pressurizing situations helps make good decisions.
7. Resource optimization: Decisions more usual than not are involving resources that are personal or professional. The resources can be people, time, money, logistics or space, and so on. They need to be allocated judiciously amongst numerous demands for it at the same time. By using a mathematical technique or a graph, you can find the most suitable way to distribute the resources to the various demands and get maximum benefit from the combination. This method is also known as Linear programming.
8. Develop critical thinking skills: By ensuring that you think rationally and critically, you increase your success rate. Doing this means you are consciously practicing a particular way of thinking so that it fetches you success or the results that you are working towards. This surfaces when you practice other skills such as comparing and contrasting; rationalizing, prioritizing, evaluating, observing, predicting, rationalizing, summarizing, analyzing cause and effects, and synthesizing. To ensure that the above skills are acquired, it is important to have an open mindset, with logical, experimental, well-informed, contextual, and clarification seeking mindset.
9. Cost/Benefit analysis: Before implementing a change it will help you greatly if you can work out the cost of bringing about the changes to the existing system or thought, and then analyze the benefits you may receive from it. Weigh the two sets and set aside a value to both the cost and the benefit. This will help you decide the option or choice to be exercised. However, the cost/ benefit analysis is applicable only with monetary costs and benefits. The numbers give the method of decision making a great deal of subjectivity.
10. Break-even analysis: This is yet another method that helps in making decisions by calculating your profits after deducting the costs from the entire revenue that is generated from a deal or venture. This method is especially useful during the early stages of planning as it helps you predict how the real profits would seem like after you take into account the liabilities before you take on a project or business venture. Considering all factors that pitch in for the costs need to be considered while making a decision on this basis.