Ten Strategies To Effective Decision Making

mandyStarred Page By mandy, 20th Feb 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Jobs>Management

Making effective decisions is extremely important. Whenever we make lousy decisions, we reap failures, regrets and frustrations. We might lose our enthusiasm on many things, even with life itself. People become brokenhearted and regretful for things they have done hastily and without contemplation. If only people learn how to become effective decision makers, there will be less frustrations and less sufferings brought by poor judgment.

1) Know what the real problem is.

Every decision making starts with identifying a problem. Common sense tells that. Some people make decisions without knowing what the real problem is. Probably, they are too lazy to even think about it. Let’s say, you are troubled about your finances. What is the specific problem? Is it a general lack of money or is it about not having enough money to pay certain bills at home? Is it your incapacity to save the amount you want? The real problem is always specific and specific problems are easier to solve and decided upon.

2) Be goal-oriented.

Once you have identified the problem, you need to determine what is it that you need to achieve or obtain. If your problem is about your not being able to save enough and want to increase your current savings, then stay on that goal.

3) Understand your time constraints.

Most decision making situations have time constraints unless you have forever to spend. Do you need to make a decision tomorrow, next week or anytime next year? Set your time limits and be firm. Remember, you have other things to attend to and problems will continue to arise and demand your attention.

4) Get all possible information you can have within your time frame.

Getting all the information that you can within your time limit is one of the most important requisites for making sound decisions. Gather data relevant to your possible choices.

Let’s take an example; you want to buy a car and get the most out of your money with considerations like price, comfort, durability and so on. You need to have a list of all the possible cars with your set criteria: price, comfort, durability, etc. Say from a scale of 1-10 (10 for the topmost priority and 1 for the least), price is 10, comfort is 8, durability is 9. We assume that these are your only criteria. After that, you may put weight values (may also be from a scale of 1-10) for all the cars included in your list. Maybe car A is cheap and you’d put a weight of 10 for its price. Since price is 10 in your priority scale, car A already has 100 points in terms of price. If it is not a very comfortable car, you might give a 7 for its comfort and multiply that by 8, getting a 56. If you give 8 for durability, you’ll have 8 x 9 = 72 points for durability. Repeat for the other car models in your list. You can tabulate these and sum up the total points for each car. The car that gets the most points is the car you should buy. Actually, there are many decision making models available for those who already know the basics. As your knowledge grows, you become better at decisions.

5) Seek others' help but avoid being prematurely convinced by what they say.

Other perspectives, especially from those with relevant experience on the matter you need to decide on, will prove extremely helpful. However, you do not need to follow what they did as situations always vary from one person to the next. What you can do with others’ experiences is learn from them and make their mistakes your caution. Treat other people’s ideas as your data; you make your conclusions after analyzing them. You do not decide according to what they say.

6) Prioritize and focus on the task at hand.

If you have things to decide on, prioritize and stick to the task at hand until such time that you are ready to go to the next. The thought of you having to deal with make many decisions may block your senses and hinder you from making sound decisions. The brain, though it is very powerful, may be overloaded and that will make you less efficient and perform poorly in your activities.

7) Be scientific.

To be scientific is to think rationally or logically. This simply means being objective, asking questions, making observations, testing (if possible with the given resources), and making conclusions void of biases. To hear from one group of people that something has not worked for them does not mean it will not work for you. To stick to an older idea because you have developed a commitment to it is also not helpful. To immediately believe that a specific person or product from a certain class will be the same as those in that same class is less than scientific.

8) Listen to your intuition.

According to wikipedia.org, intuition is used to describe "thoughts and preferences that come to mind quickly and without much reflection.” Studies show that intuition has a role in decision making and many managers from top corporations use their intuition to guide them when making decisions. Although this may sound like a contradiction to being scientific, it is not. Intuition is not to be used solely when one decides. It is only a tool that can enhance the effectiveness of a decision. If you listen to your inner self, you would know if it is telling you to go ahead or wait.

9) Understand that there are no perfect decisions and outcomes.

Decisions are always risky. You are never 100 percent sure that outcomes will be as you have expected. There is a limit to human rationality that no matter how much you have studied something, you will never know what will exactly happen. Just do your best, sit back and relax. As long as you’ve studied your problem adequately and have done your research, you will not lose.

10) Be creative.

Creativity means thinking out of the box and generating fresh and practicable ideas. Humans have natural creativity in them though some people are more creative than others. Creativity makes one go beyond just being scientific and being able to use mathematical and statistical tools. It generates modern and more efficient approaches to anything. Creativity can be enhanced by exercises such as practicing concentration, meditation, listening to classical music, listening to ideas different from yours, etc.

We can all be better at decision making and improve how our lives are lived.

In a study by decision scientists at Carnegie Mellon University and the RAND Corporation, the results suggested that good decision-makers may be made. Thus, learning how to make good decisions is truly a wise use of time.


Decision Making, Decisions, Decisions In Life, Effective Decisions, Guide, How To Decide

Meet the author

author avatar mandy
I'm a registered electrical engineer by profession, teaching at a university. I have varied interests and I write to express and help others.

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author avatar Shweta Digole
25th Feb 2013 (#)

i need your help. whether you will help me?

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author avatar mandy
16th Nov 2014 (#)

Hi Shweta Digole. Sorry for the way so late reply. Been out of wiki for a long time. Do you still need help?

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