The ability to select the best choice among many options
What is it?
Decision making is the process of evaluating and critiquing various ideas or concepts using reason. It requires the ability to logically weigh the relative merits of one idea over other ideas.
Why is it important?
Organizations are only a few bad decisions away from decline or failure. Every major decision must be analyzed and thought out. Employees who have the skills to logically weigh options are invaluable. Furthermore, thinking clearly and intentionally making optimal decisions are the hallmarks of a great leader.
Define the Ideal Solution
Before making any decisions, we must identify the characteristics of our desired outcome. For example, a marketing director may determine that the best advertising campaign will be 1) appealing to customers, 2) easily adapted into the current marketing strategy, and 3) cost-effective. Each of those three criterion can be defined in detail and then used to evaluate all options. Many people leave out this step in the decision making process thinking that the criteria are obvious. They usually aren’t.
Identify Strengths and Weaknesses
Second, the various options under consideration need to be critically and explicitly evaluated. Strengths and weaknesses for each option need to be identified and articulated. Put together a written list of the pros and cons for each of the possible solutions; that will help you identify the best option.
Adopt a Decision Making Strategy
Finally, use a concrete decision making strategy. For example, give a solution a value of 1 to 5 with respect to each of your key criteria. A 5 means that the proposed solution meets the criteria perfectly. If not all criteria are of equal importance, give each of the criteria different weights ranging from 1 to 5, with 5 being of utmost importance. To find the best option, multiply the degree to which a potential solution meets a certain criteria for success by the weight of importance. Add up the numbers and the highest number is the best solution.