It doesn’t matter what industry or business you are in, problem solving and decision making will be an important part of your life, especially if you have a leadership role, or are active in management.
Life is made up of making decisions and coping with the consequences. Some people seem able to cope with a multitude of decisions and can quickly arrive at a workable solution; others seem to be able to analyse the problem perfectly, but then wallow in a plethora of possible solutions ~ being unable to come to a decision as to which one would lead to the best outcome.
Ideally we need to be able to assess the situation and make quality decisions; and if decision-making is part of your daily working life, you may be delighted to hear that there are some simple processes and techniques which can aid you.
To make good decisions you should be aware of the personal skills which should be developed: good analytical skills to deconstruct the problem, creative development of possible options, the ability to assess the possible outcomes and the firmness to implement the chosen solution. All of these can be improved by attending appropriate workshops – go to firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help. But to help you now, here is a simple step-by-step check list for effective decision making.
1. Define and clarify the issue – does it warrant action? If so, must it be now? Is the matter urgent, important or both. Do you know the Pareto Princple? If you do, consider the principle; if you do not, ask Trischel about it!
2. Gather all the facts and work out what the cause of the problem is.
3. Think about all possible options and solutions. If in a group, have a brainstorming sessions; if alone write down all possible options and eliminate unworkable solutions.
4. Consider and compare the possible outcomes of each option – consult with others if time permits and if you think it is necessary – it probably will be.
5. Select the best option for your situation. – avoid trying to have it both ways and avoid compromise solutions which do not address the cause of the initial problem.
6. Explain your decision to those involved and affected, and plan the implementation. Follow up to ensure that the planned solution is working, and be flexible enough to change your plan if necessary. Don’t get so involved in one solution that you cannot change it if it does not work. Be flexible and revisit alternative answers.
Every one has to make difficult decisions at some time; the above check list can help. But the important part is in the implementation of the solution, being flexible enough to change our direction and having the courage to actually decide on a course of action.
Michele @ Trischel