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How to Make a Good Decision

How to Make a Good Decision

How to make a good decision

The Quality of our lives is determined by the quality of our decisions.

Decisions. Decisions!

We make decisions every hour of every day. Many decisions are trivial, such as what to eat for lunch, but even these seemingly trivial decisions have a cumulative effect. Other decisions are major, and they have enormous, long term consequences for ourselves and others.

People's lifetime earnings are determined by their ability to make right decisions. People are paid, NOT in proportion to how hard they work, but rather, in proportion to the value of the decisions their organisation will entrust them to make.

Therefore, decision making is one of the most important skills to develop. Here is some guidance on how to make decisions.

1. Yes or No?

2. Which one, What kind? Decisions

3. What is the priority order? Decisions

4. What is the best sequence? Decisions.

5. Problem-cause-solution Decisions.

6. Problem, implication and countermeasure Decisions.

First rule. Make the decision.

Don't procrastinate unnecessarily.

Here is the truth: You must make decisions even in the face of uncertain and incomplete knowledge.

So, the rule to remember is this: After a logical analysis of all the available evidence: Make the decision!

Don't make decisions based upon your first, instinctive, emotional reaction to an event.

Neither should you make a decision based upon any prejudices, nor based upon guesses or fears.

Make your decisions based upon a logical evaluation of all the available evidence in relation to how they affect the achievement of your goal.

In order to think things through logically, use decision matrices. Decision matrices are a great way to make your decisions in a logical way, in writing.

1. Yes or No? Decisions.

You need to make Yes/No decisions all the time.

For example, should you get one, or not?

Should you say it, or not?

should you go on holiday or not?

Should you ask her, or not?

You can handle a yes/no decision by using the following diagram, or try our free Yes/No Decision Making app.

Decision Making and Problem Solving : How to Make a Good Decision

2. Which one, What kind? Decisions

If you are going to get a computer, then which one, what kind?

If you are going on holiday, then which one, what kind?

If you are going to buy a dog, then, which one, what kind?

To help you make this type of decision, try using our Which One, What Kind? Decision making widget.

3. What is the priority order? Decisions

You often need to decide between options, which one is the most valuable?

What is the most valuable use of your time?

What is the most valuable use of your energy?

What is the most valuable use of your effort?

To make a priority order decision, you may find our Job Priority app useful.

4. What is the correct logical sequence? Decisions.

Assume that there is an ideal, most efficient order of steps that will achieve a goal in the most effective manner possible. Ask yourself

What is most efficient order that would achieve the goal in least time and effort?

5. Problem-cause-solution Decisions.

All problems have causes. Most problems have multiple causes.

Name the problem, name the three or four major causes to the problem.

Then assume that each cause suggests a solution.

If you stop the cause, you'll stop the problem.

For example, the three causes of fire are: Heat, oxygen and fuel. If you have enough heat, oxygen and fuel in the same place, then you will have a fire.

If you remove any one of the three causes, then the fire will be extinguished.

Assume the same cause / effect principle applies to all problems.

Decision Making and Problem Solving : How to Make a Good Decision

6. Problem, implication and countermeasure Decisions

All problems may be the cause of additional problems. For example, if you have lost your wallet, then that is a problem.

But having lost your wallet may cause you a number of additional problems, such as credit-card fraud, or not being able to hire a car because your driving licence was in your wallet.

All problems can be the cause of other problems, which need to be anticipated and a set of countermeasures put in place.

Think it through, using this diagram to help you:

Decision Making and Problem Solving : How to Make a Good Decision

About the Author: Chris Farmer


Chris Farmer is the founder of the Corporate Coach Group and has many years’ experience in training leaders and managers, in both the public and private sectors, to achieve their organisational goals, especially during tough economic times. He is also well aware of the disciplines and problems associated with running a business.

Over the years, Chris has designed and delivered thousands of training programmes and has coached and motivated many management teams, groups and individuals. His training programmes are both structured and clear, designed to help delegates organise their thinking and, wherever necessary, to improve their techniques and skills.

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Further Reading in Decision Making and Problem Solving

  • Decision Making and Problem Solving Training
    When you are faced with a situation, you need to classify what kind of situation it is, then use the appropriate mode of thinking for the problem.
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  • The Walt Disney Model
    Walt Disney was a great problem solver. He approached problems from a variety of perspectives. We would all benefit from being able to find practical solutions to problems. Check out his model and see how you can use his methods to your advantage.
    Read Article >
  • Be a Straight Thinker
    Being able to think straight is an asset in life. We know this means making rational decisions, but what exactly does that mean in reality? You need to learn to be a critical thinker and here are four things to remember to get your thinking straight.
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  • The Law of Diminishing Returns
    More is not necessarily better. There is a point which is optimum. After this point comes diminishing returns, where additional amounts of time, money and effort are ineffective and may even be dangerous.
    Read Article >
  • Unlocking the Power of First Principles
    When supporting our opinions, we often turn to facts or fundamental principles. However, one of these approaches emerges as significantly more impactful. We explore why this is important.
    Read Article >

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