A Six Step Process For Making Better, More Effective Decisions

Six (6) Step Decision Making Process
Six (6) Step Decision Making Process

Strong decision-making skills are critical because the future of any business or organization depends on hiring workers who are capable of thinking or making decisions at higher levels of sophistication.

It is in the best interest of any organization you work for to create a confident workforce by developing or following a clear-cut decision-making steps like those outlined on this article.

Finally you can as an individual, become more successful by making more better, more effective decisions using the principles taught in this article on decision making.

So, whenever you or your organization is in need of a good solution, you may follow the six (6) step decision making process below …

Step 1 – Establish a Positive Decision-making Environment

Set the stage for good decision-making by taking a deep breath and clearing your mind of the chaos or clutter that often surrounds the need or pressure for a decision to be made.

Keep in mind that being pressured, coerced or forced into making a choice is not necessarily a good thing …

So, if you begin to apply decision-making skills on anything else but the solid foundation of a positive environment, it will come crashing down on you like a house built upon sandy ground.

Surround yourself with a peaceful, non-critical, low pressure setting which will aid (and not hinder) you or anyone else on your team working on possible solutions.

Step 2 – Generate Potentially Good Solutions

Invite colleagues or team members who can help with making a list of every possible solution and create an environment for them that is free of fear, negative repercussions, reprisals or criticism.

If brainstorming in a group meeting or environment is too daunting, meet one on one with every potential contributor or create an idea box where workers can anonymously write down their ideas as to the potential solutions to the problem or situation.

To help with eliciting or listing all the possible solutions, solution contributors may ask questions like: “what if we tried this” …

Step 3 – Evaluate and Rank Potential Solutions

After you have compiled a list of several possible solutions, assign numbers (1 to 5) to each possible solution on the list with the number 1 being the most viable solution and the number 5 being the least viable.

Group together all of the solutions labeled with the same number on the same list and then evaluate the lists in order of their numbers, beginning with the first list (list #1) and then proceeding on to the last list (list #5).

Futhermore, you may evaluate the risks, consequences and feasibility of each solution using the SWOT technique which stands for:

S – Strengths
W – Weaknesses
O – Opportunities
T – Threats

SWOT helps you evaluate a dpotential in terms of its known strengths and weaknesses as well as its threats and opportunities.

Additionally, you may evaluate each potential solution by asking questions such as:

  • Who will be impacted by this decision, and who needs to know about it?

  • What actions will need to be taken to implement this decision?

  • Does this decision hinge upon other decisions that first need to be made?

  • Does this decision conflict with other decisions previously made?

Finally, ask a series of “what if this solution doesn’t work” questions but don’t keep your focus only on the negative of what will happen if it fails.

Consider also the possibility that some of these solutions may work well. So don’t forget to ask “what if this solution works … then what?“.

Step 4 – Decide or Choose The Best Solution

If you arrive at this step, after walking through the first three steps of: creating a positive environment, generating potential solutions and evaluating or ranking potential solutions, you will be able to choose or decide the best solution.

However, if you come to this moment of truth and are still unsure of the right solution, re-evaluate your solutions again!

You may even go as far as generating additional, potential new solutions before re-evaluating and ranking all the potential solutions and then choosing the best.

Step 5 – Check Or Review Your Decision

Review the overall picture and determine how well your solution will work to solve the problem at hand in your organizational or personal context.

For example, if some of your stakeholders or management are not satisfied with the solution or if the solution is not very well-aligned with your strategic goals then you may have to go back and reassess what needs to be changed to make it a better fit.

Step 6 – Communicate and Implement Your Solution

Good communication during the decision-making process is like oil in a car’s engine or on a squeaky door hinge.

It smoothly opens up the doors to progress, minimizes resistance, reduces negative feelings while creating the support, energy, motivation and the enthusiasm needed to implement the solution.

Assign the responsibilities for implementing specific aspects of the solution along with clear-cut instructions and deadline dates to specific person(s).

Share or publish your plan for implementing your solution and check back frequently with those assigned specific tasks or steps.

In closing, keep these additional tips in mind as you implement our six-step decision making process

  1. Don’t procrastinate in making decisions.

  2. Take the most time with the first steps that lead up to actually making the decision so you don’t rush into a bad decision.

  3. Trust your gut-level feeling or intuition.

  4. Saying no to a potential solution is always an option.

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