Decision making is one of the greatest skills in life that could change your entire life. In real-life business situations, decisions can often fail because the best alternatives are not clear at the outset, or key factors are not considered as part of the process. To stop this happening, you need to bring problem-solving and decision-making strategies together to clarify your understanding.
A logical and ordered process can help you to do this by making sure that you address all of the critical elements needed for a successful outcome. The business decision-making process is commonly divided into seven steps. Managers may utilize many of these steps without realizing it, but gaining a clearer understanding of best practices can improve the effectiveness of your decisions.
Steps of the Decision Making Process
The following are the seven key steps of the decision-making process.
Identify the decision
The first step in making the right decision is recognizing the problem or opportunity and deciding to address it. Determine why this decision will make a difference to your customers or fellow employees.
Next, it’s time to gather information so that you can make a decision based on facts and data. This requires making a value judgment, determining what information is relevant to the decision at hand, along with how you can get it. Ask yourself what you need to know in order to make the right decision, then actively seek out anyone who needs to be involved.
Once you have a clear understanding of the issue, it’s time to identify the various solutions at your disposal. It’s likely that you have many different options when it comes to making your decision, so it is important to come up with a range of options. This helps you determine which course of action is the best way to achieve your objective.
Weigh the evidence
In this step, you’ll need to “evaluate for feasibility, acceptability and desirability” to know which alternative is best, according to management experts Phil Higson and Anthony Sturgess. Managers need to be able to weigh pros and cons, then select the option that has the highest chances of success. It may be helpful to seek out a trusted second opinion to gain a new perspective on the issue at hand.
Choose among alternatives
When it’s time to make your decision, be sure that you understand the risks involved with your chosen route. You may also choose a combination of alternatives now that you fully grasp all relevant information and potential risks.
Next, you’ll need to create a plan for implementation. This involves identifying what resources are required and gaining support from employees and stakeholders. Getting others onboard with your decision is a key component of executing your plan effectively, so be prepared to address any questions or concerns that may arise.
Review your decision
An often-overlooked but important step in the decision making process is evaluating your decision for effectiveness. Ask yourself what you did well and what can be improved next time.