How to make decisions

There are many different aspects of business that require daily decision-making. Everyone in every industry and occupation must make decisions at some point. Some decisions are on a small scale, while others can have a significant impact on how a company does business and whether or not they are successful in the future.

If you find yourself struggling with decision-making, then these steps will help you understand what is needed to make them. Experience is helpful, but if you’re new to the world of business or you have assumed a higher level of responsibility with greater decision-making requirements, you need more than experience.

Regardless of what decisions you make in your business or personal life, it’s essential to know the important elements of the thought process.


Step 1

Make sure you understand the question thorougly. Restate the question to frame it clearly and to ensure that you and others are focused on the same question.

Step 2

Clarify the scope of the question. Is it focused on particular area of the company or more? Does it affect multiple geographic locations? Understanding the far-reaching implications of the decision helps you to evaluate options.

Step 3

Collect and assimilate as much data, information, and input as possible. Historical data is always vital in decision-making. Current data compared to historical data is useful. Ask for input from people who have been in similar situations or who have had decision-making responsibility in this position. Collaborate with colleagues internally or from other organizations without compromising the integrity of the situation or inappropriately disclosing information about the question.

Step 4

Evaluate multiple options and consider how they will impact the business. Engage others who are impacted by the decision to solicit their input on any negative impact on their areas of responsibility. Test out potential responses to the question before making a final decision and brainstorm with reliable colleagues and superiors who may have additional insights.

Step 5

Create a list of all plausible options based on data, information, and input. Using your own business judgment and intuition is also a vital component of this process at this point. Remember that you are responsible and accountable for the decisions.

Step 6

Create a comprehensive list of the benefits and risks of the potential decision and weigh them carefully. Determine which risks are worth taking and which ones must be mitigated before moving forward.

Step 7

Make a decision and stick with it. There will always be others who will disagree. Many business decisions do not meet with favor from a number of employees, but that does not mean they are bad decisions. Execute the decision with confidence and be a positive change-agent in the process.

Step 8

Evaluate your decision after it has been implemented and learn from the positive or negative impact it has on business and employees. If new information makes it necessary to alter the course, never be afraid to make adjustments. Decisions are made with the best possible information available at a particular point in time. New information and data can drive new decisions and strong leaders are willing to make these changes.

You will Need
• Clarification of the decisions to be made and far-reaching implications.
• Data and historical information for evaluation.
• Access to colleagues and others involved in the process.

Tips & Warnings
• Never make decisions without proper data and information.
• Always solicit input from those affected by the decision.
• Consider decisions that benefit the organization and its mission.


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