How to Improve Decision-Making Skills

Making decisions – even small ones – can be stressful and daunting. The decision-making process is never easy. Making informed and “sound decisions is a skill that needs to be developed like any other” (Myatt, 2012). So, what are people in the decision-making community suggesting for improving this skill? What are their insights?
To answer these questions and gain a global perspective, we turned to slideshare, a web-based slide hosting service that allows users from around the world to share knowledge online. Presentations, documents, and other professional content about decision making have been globally publicized and we compiled this information to identify general themes for making better informed decisions. Below is a summary of our findings.

Decision-Making Steps

Forming decisions involves planning activities, researching alternatives, directing action, evaluating experiences, and advocating change. Challenging decisions can require additional thought and emotion before coming to a final solution. There are many processes that occur during decision making, but we were curious to get a universal perspective on the key steps. Various slideshare authors and presenters displayed the following stages that are pertinent for improving decisions:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Identify the possible alternative
  3. Select a preferred course of action
  4. Implement the action
  5. Evaluate the result

steps image

Commit to Decisions and Take Risks

To truly make an informed decision, you have to be 100% committed. While it’s important to “only commit to decisions that you’re fully behind, that doesn’t mean you have to be familiar with them” (Bittner, 2013). Don’t be afraid to take risks and make changes. Just remember, all decisions of consequence involve risk. Treating life like an experiment can help strengthen your decision-making skills. You can spend all your time debating whether you made the right choice or you can spend all your effort and energy on making your decision work for you.

sticking to it

Effective Decision-Making Techniques

Understanding and knowing a simple technique and also regularly practicing that technique is a significant part of improving your decision-making skills. Taking your time and weighing your options can help you evaluate what choice is best for you. For example, once you define the problem and consider the criteria for your decision, try using the pro and con method to assess outcomes. The pro and con technique includes jotting down, on a piece of paper, the positive and negative aspects of the decision you are trying to make. By weighing your options and identifying their merits, you will be able to eliminate any assumptions or questions you may have and recognize which direction is more appropriate for you. Watch this video below to learn more techniques for making good decisions.

Do you have a decision-making technique that we should know about? Tell us about it in the comments below.

References

Bittner, M. C. (2013). How to be a success at everything: A definitive guide to making better (a better informed) decisions. Retrieved April 10, 2014, from http://www.fastcompany.com/3016466/how-to-be-a-success-at-everything/a-definitive-guide-for-making-better-and-better-informed-d

Myatt, M. (2012). Six tips for making better decisions. Retrieved April 8, 2014, from http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/03/28/6-tips-for-making-better-decisions/

Slideshare References

Decision making: How to make better decisions

Develop your decision-making skills

Ignite better decision making

Making good decisions

Sidetracked: Why our decisions get derailed, and how we stick to the plan

What is decision making?

Related Posts:

Decision making and your brain

Cultural implications of decision making

Strategies to improve your critical thinking skills

 

 

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About the Author:

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Cognitive Performance Group, LLC is a woman-owned small business with offices in Orlando, Florida, and Cleveland, Ohio. It was founded by Dr. Karol G. Ross, Jennifer K. Phillips, and William A. Ross. The three CPG Principals developed the concept for a company to support cognitive performance improvement in industry and government. (more...)

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