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Decision Making

Should I? Should I Not? We make so many quick decisions unconsciously; others we agonize over.

People often say that they find it hard to make decisions. Some question whether we really even have free will; others believe it is well within our power to make choices that will lead to greater well-being. Some people put off making decisions by endlessly searching for more information or getting other people to offer their recommendations. Others resort to decision-making by taking a vote, sticking a pin in a list or tossing a coin.
Nevertheless, we all have to make decisions all the time, ranging from trivial issues like what to have for lunch, right up to life-changing decisions like where and what to study, and who to marry.
We choose actions and form opinions via mental processes which are influenced by biases, reason, emotions, and memories.

So, What is Effective Decision-Making?

Decisions need to be capable of being implemented, whether on a personal or organizational level. You do, therefore, need to be committed to the decision personally, and be able to persuade others of its merits.
An effective decision-making process, therefore, needs to ensure that you are able to do so.

What Can Prevent Effective Decision-Making?

There are a number of problems that can prevent effective decision-making. These include:

1. Not Enough Information

If you do not have enough information, it can feel like you are making a decision without any basis or evidence.

  • Take some time to gather the necessary data to inform your decision, even if the timescale is very tight.
  • If necessary, prioritize your information-gathering by identifying which information will be most important to you.

2. Too Much Information

The opposite problem, but one that is seen surprisingly often (i.e., having so much conflicting information that it is impossible to see ‘the wood for the trees’). This is sometimes called Analysis Paralysis.
This problem can often be resolved by getting everyone together to decide what information is really important and why, and by setting a clear timescale for decision-making, including an information-gathering stage.

3. Too Many People

Making decisions by committee is difficult. Everyone has their own views, and their own values. And while it’s important to know what these views are, and why and how they are important, it may be essential for one person to take responsibility for making a decision. Sometimes, any decision is better than none.

4. Vested Interests

Decision-making processes often found under the weight of vested interests. These vested interests are often not overtly expressed, but may be a crucial blockage. Because they are not overtly expressed, it is hard to identify them clearly, and therefore address them, but it can sometimes be possible to do so by exploring them with someone outside the process, but in a similar position.

5. Emotional Attachments

People are often very attached to the status quo. Decisions tend to involve the prospect of change, which many people find difficult.

6. No Emotional Attachment

Sometimes it’s difficult to make a decision because you just don’t care one way or the other. In this case, a structured decision-making process can often help by identifying some very real pros and cons of particular actions, that perhaps you hadn’t thought about before.
At Meeting Matters, our trainer can teach you many different techniques, ranging from simple rules of thumb to extremely complex procedures; depending on the nature of the decision to be made and how complex it is.

If you want to organize a training session for effective decision-making skills, please get in touch with us at Meeting Matters:
Telephone: 0321 5040001, 051- 2609277
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