Five Steps in Decision-Making

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Five Steps in Decision-Making

The work of a manager is hampered by constant decision-making, which does not always occur in the best conditions. There is a working method that provides five keys to facilitate this task.

Managers are forced to make decisions every day. Some are very clear, such as awarding a project to a certain person, and others are more complex, such as selecting a new supplier. Some are easy, while others carry risks and require the interaction of several factors. Decisions become particularly difficult when they are uncertain, when they present various alternatives, when various parties or subjects are involved, or when dealing with interpersonal issues.

Lack of information is a factor that creates uncertainty and therefore makes decision-making difficult,but some managers find that they never have enough information to make a decision, which means that this fear is caused by the insecurity caused by the risk accepted with the decision. In any case, managers must make decisions whether they have all the conditions they require to perform that act with conviction or not.

To try to solve these difficulties, a five-step technique is proposed. This requires bearing in mind the idea that decision-making is a process. One of the most notable discoveries of business thinkers is that undertaking a process is crucial to obtaining positive results. The planning, organization and distribution of energies and times has much more possibilities to be effective than talent or work in extensive days. If an effective process is adopted and the people on the team are taught how to use it, the result will be gradually improved.

It would be easy to think that the mechanical realization of these steps automatically leads to the best decision, but it is not. This process helps to a large extent to organize the hard work of deciding, but there will always be ins open obstacles, the result of eventuality, that can complicate this process. We will have to be flexible to adapt the process in the face of the emergence of unforeseen events.

1. Establish a context for success

The first step is to create an enabling and effective climate for making the right decisions. A context that helps decisions is one that manages to eliminate, at least in part, the subjective and other usual pollutant factors of a human structure. This means, in addition to debugging personal preferences not supported by professional criteria, to carefully select the people who will participate in the decision-making process. It will also be necessary to look at the most appropriate physical space for this process, a place that should encourage creative thinking, communication and deliberation.

2. Expose the problem appropriately

The second step in this process will be to know with completeness the details of the situation on which the decision is to be made: the nature of the problem, the people involved, the duration of that situation, the consequences that it has caused until the solutions that have been applied to date. Correct decisions cannot be made if the problem has not been clearly exposed from the outset.

3. Generate alternatives

The next step is to propose an acceptable number of possible alternatives. If there are no multiple possibilities, there will be no decision to make, nor will it involve any difficulty in resolving the conflict, since the decision to choose one of the alternatives and discard the others is what raises the doubt of knowing for sure whether right with that choice, that is, whether the chosen alternative is the best of the proposals. This step of the process requires a lot of creativity and ingenuity and must be fruitful enough. This stage should not be completed without having managed to gather a relevant number of quality possibilities.

4. Evaluate these alternatives

Once a realistic set of alternatives has been achieved, the feasibility of each of them should be assessed. There are many specialized management tools for this, including some software versions.

5. Choose the best alternative

After progressing through the process throughout the initial phases and having devoted the necessary attention and care to each of the steps, each decision team member will be able to present his or her particular opinion individually, and then exchange views between all of them and create a discussion forum around the best alternatives.

This will look at the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives best valued by the members of the group, which will enrich decision-making, since it will not be subject only to the personal criterion of a manager, but will have been analysed since the different and complementary professional profiles.

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