I’ve found over the course of my career that there are three main types of decision making models or methods that you can use to help you make a decision.
Whilst every person will follow their own process, all of them tend to fall into one of the three following categories:
Let’s take a look at what each of those categories mean and then I’ll cover a specific model that you can use.
Types of decision making models
If you follow the rational or logical decision making model you tend to gather facts, thoroughly examine situations, and make logical decisions based on all you know on a given subject.
You’ll do as much research as possible and leave nothing to chance. This is the most recommended method of decision making for those in management positions.
Intuitive decision making involves not the use of statistics and data but your gut feeling.
While this method isn’t necessarily bad it can lead to disaster as one’s gut, or instinct, should never be the sole factor in the decision making process.
It’s better to use past experiences, insight, and statistics together to make the right choice.
Probably the most controversial decision making model is the predisposed method.
Here, you will make a snap decision based on your personal preferences and opinions and will work to find data that backs up what you want to do, regardless of whether or not your decision is actually right.
You will tend to ignore important information merely because it doesn’t support your agenda.
It’s important for you to identify what type of decision making model you usually follow. Is the one you’re using most effective? Do you tend to act in a predisposed manner? Figure out where you stand on the decision making grid and then decide if you need to make a change.
Decision making model example
We make decisions every day. That’s part of our job and life!
And, most of he time, things go right with those decisions. Rarely do we make massive howlers that send the FTSE 100 index crashing through the floor, or find the building around us burn to the ground.
If you need to make large, long-lasting decisions that will have an impact on what you do in the future, it would be good to have some kind of decision making model that assists us and provides a firm foundation for the decision that has to be made.
Let’s take an example.
Let’s assume you have to decide whether to accept a new job somewhere else or stay with your current position.
One way of doing it would be to use something known as the “backwards-decision model”
It’s called this because, naturally, it’s made up of the acronym ‘noisiced’, which is ‘decision’ spelt backwards.
Here’s how it would run if you had to think through this scenario of whether to move jobs:
Needs – why do I need to move?
Objectives – does the job help me achieve my ambitions?
Information – do I have all the info I need what more info do I require?
Strategy – does it fit into my life plans?
Investigate – check out other possibilities
Choose – what steps do I need to take to make the move?
Ego states – how do I feel? – what do I think? – what should I do?
Decide – make the decision
You can see how this acronym can be used in other areas of life where decisions have to be made.
Try it out and see what results you get from it. It may surprise you how a ‘backwards’ model can be so efficient!
Decision making models are good but…
Do you use a model and still doubt yourself?
When you need to figure out a plan of action, do you take days to consider all the options, and can’t ever decide on the spot?
After you painstakingly resolve on a plan of action, do you go back and forth, reconsidering if you have made the right decision?
Here are some tips so you don’t second guess yourself.
Go With Your Gut
The most important lesson about learning to feel comfortable to make decisions is learning to trust yourself.
If you look back at your track record, you will likely realise that you have a good head on your shoulders, and you typically arrive at the right outcomes. Due to this, try to make quick decisions by going with your gut. It is likely that you do this anyway, except that you stall for time by considering all the possible alternatives.
Your subconscious is your ally, and will usually steer toward the correct choice, it is your conscious mind that plays tricks and makes you wonder as to other possibilities.
Stop The “What If?
Most of the time, we fail to commit to one choice because we are curious about the others.
If you consider promoting one employee, you will second guess other likely candidates, and what kind of contributions they would make to the department.
Or, if you have to pick a marketing campaign for a new product, you will mill over a half dozen ideas, and imagine what each one would offer to the company.
However, it’s vital to understand that you can’t live out all the possible scenarios, and can’t have it all, which is why you need to stop asking, “What if?” and commit to one choice.
Accept Possible Failure
Managers have to balance a lot, and their decisions affect their employees and the rest of the company.
This is the reason it is very hard for some leaders to make decisions for fear that a wrong choice can put the company’s welfare in the balance. If you need to decide whether to invest in a risky new idea, you will likely stay up nights making lists of pros and cons, not able to figure out the best solution.
Remember that although you do have a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders, you are only human and may make the wrong choice once in a while. Don’t let that fear stop you from making quick choices, as even a well-thought out resolution cannot work out in your favour.
Some individuals can make decisions easily, while others have a much harder time at it. Think of it as a skill you need to practice.
Give yourself a time frame on making a choice, and stick to it.
Additional Decision Making Resources
Click below for some more tips and techniques on decision making.
Making effective decisions is a popular topic in the Management Training programmes that we run. If you’re a leader and want to improve your management skills then please check out our FREE Online Management Course. It covers the essentials of management and leadership and will help you to make better informed decisions.
Originally published: 20 May, 2020
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