Decision making made easy

Decision making is an important part of our lives. We do it everyday. What am I going to eat? How will I go to work? Sometimes even the smallest decision is a struggle. That is because we do not understand which decision should be given the right attention. At the same time we don’t prioritize our goals. At board meetings of large corporations too there is constant decision making happening and there is a need for a framework that makes it easy. Any decision making process includes identifying the problem, looking at all the alternatives and keeping an eye on the outcome we would like to achieve.

The art of decision making

There are people who can make quick decisions and there are people whose decisions are valued. If you are in some field of work, you will find your friends and relations turning to you for advice if they have a decision to make regarding anything in your area of expertise. Similarly, some people have the expertise and the experience of a certain field or related areas due to which they are made CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, consultants etc. We learn thus that decision making is better or at least respected when you have the skill set and experience. However, how would you arrive at the right decision?

The need for a perfect framework

A proper framework makes any job easier. Breaking down the decision making process to easily achievable steps will make the decision making easier even if you don’t have the necessary experience in a field. This framework should be powerful and have the utility for all kinds of decision making. Decisions pertaining to management, project management and consumer understanding should all be able to come into the frame. There are many pathways that you can use to arrive at your decision.

The decision of choice and priority

If you are in a situation where people turn to you to make a decision about what to do first. It is not about some path break innovation, but the team simply wants to know what should be done now. First. Maybe a situation has changed, deadlines have been moved up. What should be done on priority. Here I would recommend the Eisenhower Matrix. Make two columns and two rows. The title of the first column is Urgent and the second is Not Urgent. The title of the first row is Important and the second row is Not Important. Get the team together and find out which of the pending tasks fall into the appropriate box or cell. The Urgent and Important work is automatically the one that should be done. You can reschedule the Important but Not Urgent and reassign Urgent but not important. You have the luxury of turning a blind eye to the Not Important and Not Urgent. Take Nelson Mandela’s route to absorb all information before taking the decision.

Decision making Eisenhower Matrix

Decision making and problem solving

You noticed that we made a rational decision based on information that we already had. We had the sources that could help us prioritize the information. The work that you have chosen to complete may not be something that needs to be done but maybe it is the first problem that needs to be solved. Now that you have chosen the most important problem that needs to be solved immediately how do we solve the problem. Like people say recognizing the problem is the first step to solving the problem. That’s logic. The next step should be to elaborate the problem into proper points from all points of concern.

Logic and reasoning for the right decision

Logic is one of the most important decision making models. In this model you usually consider all facts and data before making your decision. As part of your decision making process you also analyze given data and break it down to easily understandable concepts. Any unforeseen risks are also taken into account. Market research, surveys and feedback from consumers are usually referred to minimize risks. Decision makers also consider all the resources available on hand before deducing the right and most logical decision. Once decided, the implementation will be continuously monitored. The logic based model is used by the CEO of a large corporation as well as an executive in a small firm. Most decisions are based on this model. For example the use of a particular software or service or maybe employing an executive level employee. 

Intent – The End Justifies the Means

Intent, as the name suggests, is driven by motive rather than logic. Intent based decisions usually consider the outcome as the most important part of decision making. The right way of implementation or easiest route to completing the task is considered after the decision has been made. This decision making model is employed when the management wants to be market leaders in their niche or want to launch a product they or their consumers aspire for. Companies that have done their market research, analyzed the ensuing data or those project leaders who have gone through feedback will most probably want to tweak their products and services to match consumer demands. Similar, intent based decisions are – increasing marketing reach or awareness, expansion of existing geographical base or starting business in new geographic locations.

Emotion. Should you avoid or use it?

Decision making based on emotion is usually avoided in corporate corridors because ‘emotion’ in decision making is looked down upon. That is, unless you have the power to influence the stakeholders. A person who is considered an expert is believed to have the right intuition in his field of expertise. This person may be given the freedom to make a decision based on ‘gut-feeling’. However, if you look at the overall scenario, we usually make decisions based on emotion. 

What do the facts point to?

The facts and data we refer to usually give us statistics and charts, but when we analyze the data, we usually consider the emotion behind the analysis. Considering emotions of the consumer is deemed necessary in marketing decisions. A particular demographic will be targeted with a specific product because the choices of the buyer persona are based on certain emotions. Headlines for news and marketing are considered optimum when they are intended to evoke certain emotions of the reader including fear and anger. Also we make special efforts to make our consumer feel good about our goods and services even after they have bought them.  

Do you like what you’ve done?

Many times emotions are counted as big contributors to decision making. This can be illustrated by the example of designing logos and deciding parameters of brand personas. We want people to relate to us in a certain emotional way. At the same time, we want to attract or avoid certain emotions that may arise from the final outcomes of our decisions. For example we may publicly give money to a certain charity because we would like to show that our company is doing our bit for society or for a cause. We steer the company towards a certain outcome because the emotions of shareholders are at play. 

The Logic, Intent and Emotion models of decision making are driving most of our decisions. It is time we recognize these as a framework so that we can make better decisions. 

The definition of DM process

The definition of DM

Examples of DM

Decision making models

Steps in decision making

Decision making skills

Importance of decision making