Saturday, May 9, 2009

SMART DECISIONS

Decision making skills and techniques

We use our decision making skills to solve problems by selecting one course of action from several possible alternatives. Decision making skills are also a key component of time management skills.
Decision making can be hard. Almost any decision involves some conflicts or dissatisfaction. The difficult part is to pick one solution where the positive outcome can outweigh possible losses. Avoiding decisions often seems easier. Yet, making your own decisions and accepting the consequences is the only way to stay in control of your time, your success, and your life. If you want to learn more on how to make a decision, here are some decision making tips to get you started.
A significant part of decision making skills is in knowing and practicing good decision making techniques. One of the most practical decision making techniques can be summarized in those simple decision making steps:
  1. Identify the purpose of your decision. What is exactly the problem to be solved? Why it should be solved?
  2. Gather information. What factors does the problem involve?
  3. Identify the principles to judge the alternatives. What standards and judgement criteria should the solution meet?
  4. Brainstorm and list different possible choices. Generate ideas for possible solutions.
  5. Evaluate each choice in terms of its consequences. Use your standards and judgement criteria to determine the cons and pros of each alternative.
  6. Determine the best alternative. This is much easier after you go through the above preparation steps.
  7. Put the decision into action. Transform your decision into specific plan of action steps. Execute your plan.
  8. Evaluate the outcome of your decision and action steps. What lessons can be learnt? This is an important step for further development of your decision making skills and judgement.

Final remark. In everyday life we often have to make decisions fast, without enough time to systematically go through the above action and thinking steps. In such situations the most effective decision making strategy is to keep an eye on your goals and then let your intuition suggest you the right choice.