Decision making is an inescapable task for managers. The quality of those decisions determines the success of a manager’s efforts.
To improve decision making, particularly when the big decisions count, the following guidelines can help.
Try not to spend too much time on small matters.
It’s the important decisions that need to receive your full attention. Importance can be determined by asking such questions as:
- How close is the deadline?
- What are the consequences of a poor decision?
- Who is affected by the decision?
- Is the decision reversible?
Spur of the moment decisions are often merely guesses. Take time to research, review and evaluate. Impulsive decisions relating to major issues could later lead to serious, or numerous, consequential problems.
All the facts
A decision is no better than the data on which it is based. Ensure you have all the facts at your disposal before making a decision. Improve your exploration of options by asking such questions as:
- What facts do I have?
- What else do I need to know?
- What information is available?
- Whom should I ask?
- What should I ask?
There is a risk involved in every decision. Consider the worst thing that can happen if you make the wrong choice. Rarely is a disaster the consequence. A readiness to risk failure is a quality that characterises all good decision makers.
If a decision is later shown to be the wrong one, find out where you went wrong. Seek advice from others. Did you neglect or under-emphasise any steps? The ability to learn is an important factor in becoming a better decision maker.
A logical decision is not always the best answer in all situations. Be prepared to use brainstorming techniques, analogies and lateral thinking in your search for a new approach to the problem at hand. Use the technique that best fits the problem.