One of the qualities that matter most when it comes to being a good leader is having sound decision-making skills. For managers in organizations, it is not just a habit, but also an everyday process. It is the decisions that you’ve made in the past that have led you to your current situation, good or bad.
Making effective decisions ensure that the company makes profits, whereas bad decisions can cause you some major heartaches. In order to spare your organization and your employees a whole lot of stress, it is important not to underestimate the criticality of this crucial process.
Decision making is especially hard when there are too many choices, because you need to select only one from among them, while ensuring that it serves all the purposes it was meant to. And because decisions are essentially made to solve problems, a lot of organizations make use of several tools, techniques, and theories. Doing this also helps them get the best out of the process.
Being able to make foolproof decisions every time is rare. And there is no single decision that can please one and all. Many a time, certain decisions cause a degree of discontent or conflict with other interest groups.
The terms ‘decision making’ and ‘problem solving’ often go hand-in-hand. That’s because decisions are made with the intention of solving problems (as already mentioned). The process begins with the occurrence of a perplexing problem
Managers and leaders (decision makers) need to identify the problem correctly by asking the right questions. Incorrect identification may lead to missing out in a considerable number of problem-solving alternatives. They need to start by analyzing their goals, objectives, interests, and fears.
By identifying and addressing the problem, decision makers will also open up avenues for various alternatives that can be used to solve it. Additionally, new alternatives can be worked out through brainstorming. The idea is to focus on finding the solution to the problem.
As a decision maker, you need to realize that a problem not only affects your company, but also your stakeholders and investors. Apart from them, there may be other factors involved and affected by the problem. You, therefore, need to carry out research to look for solutions that answer most of the related concerns.
Solving a problem involves searching for answers and gathering as much relevant information, related to the stakeholders and the other factors involved in the problem, as you can. This information should be analyzed in depth and clarifications should be sought, depending on the complexity and the nature of problems, and multiple alternatives should be worked out.
When we say alternatives, we mean alternative solutions to the problem at hand. Developing these alternatives may require you to consult with experts, hold discussions, invite opinions, or even simply rely on past experiences. This step, however, does not end here.
It is obvious that when there are multiple options, you will be required to choose the best among them and work with it. To do this, you may want to conduct a SWOT analysis or consider the pros and cons of each alternative for better clarity. Other factors that you might want to factor in would be related to cost, revenue, profit, and risk.
Consider performing a situational analysis of the available alternatives. Think about why the decision needs to be made, and if a decision needs to be made at all. Contemplate the direct and indirect impact(s) of the decision. If you’ve made certain generalizations or inferences, do you have the necessary numbers and data to support them?
If you think your decision will have a great impact on the people at large, you may want to consider opening it up to public analysis. This will help you get feedback about it, and might also enable you to factor in certain aspects which you might have overlooked.
In order to select the best alternative, you should try and foresee the consequences of each alternative. Make sure the alternative you select leads to a decision that is action-oriented. Avoid analysis paralysis at all costs. If you feel that the data you have is inadequate, make the best possible decision with the available information. How you implement the chosen alternative is crucial to its success or failure.
With the above steps in place, you should be able to select and implement the best alternative. Do keep in mind, however, that many important decisions are linked over time. Sound decision making requires that you work towards resolving issues that are more near-term, while continuing gathering information for issues that may arise later.
You can execute your decisions by yourself or with the help of your team. Once your decisions have been converted into a series of actions, you will need to review their implementation and evaluate their outcome.
This should enable you to learn from them, and rectify the mistakes. This should also help you steer clear of errors in future decision making.
The decision making process is a highly strategic one. Decision makers need to weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives and opt for one that offers the most positive outcomes. A sustained growth is important for any thriving organization. Making the right decisions at the right time should enable that. Sometimes, it may seem like avoiding the above components is an easy way out during tough situations, but know that following them the most effective way to keep corporate affairs under control.
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