Decision Making Process

– Harry Anthony

A Manager or an individual needs to be effective with making decisions ranging from large to small on a daily basis. Managers/individuals must be problem-solvers and who can make decisions instantly.

It is critical to first prioritize problems based on issues that effect on the organization. Those that stand to have the greatest impact should be dealt first, and all problems need to be addressed in a systematic way prior to a decision being made.

Because a first impression cannot reflect the entire situation, an individual must avoid jumping to conclusions. Collecting information from more than one source to avoid bias, and completely assessing all pertinent and verifiable information prior to rendering a decision is strongly recommended.

Collecting information in order to obtain a complete understanding of the issue is only the first step. Once the information is available, then it is wise to brainstorm different solutions and possible alternatives in order to get more than one perspective. Such options can start out as wide-ranging, and then can be narrowed down to fit the scope of the problem.

Having identified a set of options and solutions, feedback and suggestions on them, along with alternatives, should be sought from consultations with others. For the most part, group decisions particularly where the group contains people who the end decision will affect  are preferable to those made by individuals as a pool of knowledge, skills and experience can be drawn upon.

Then comes the time to weigh the pros and cons of a decision. Which option or solution gives most to the organization whilst taking least from it? Few decisions will be as clear cut to hold no drawbacks. Negatives are acceptable though, as long as the positives sufficiently outweigh them.

Decision Making Requirements

To make effective and efficient decisions:

  • Consider and consult for opinions with each individual involved in the team.
  • Sometimes we need to listen to our intuitions to make possible decisions but make sure it aligns with the project goal. It’s important to discuss what your intuition thinks with the team before making the decision.
  • Make decisions based on the group discussions and processes established by the organization. It must address the following requirements:
    • To establish the context and decide how we need to work as a team requires:
      • Right people (Key stakeholders, experts, and opponents)
      • Right place (Conference rooms, off-site locations, and face-to-face discussions)
      • Right process or approach (Team consensus, Majority wins, Qualified consensus, and Directive leadership)

Note: Be open to other alternatives to make decisions but don’t make or take decisions alone. Create a consistent climate

Important! Sometime even the good Leaders can make Bad decisions.


  • Try to find out symptoms and root causes for the problem not just the symptoms.
  • Perform a root cause analysis to know why the problem is raised.
  • Question yourself and team to know what exactly the problem is and find the root causes for it.
  • Encourage a productive dialogues by:
    • Open  team discussions
    • Think out of the box using all of the available information
    • Assign tasks and deadlines
    • Recognize and thank team members who are involved in making a positive decision
  • Promote a fair process to acknowledge and consider ideas by the team members.
  • Identify the alternatives and evaluate them.
  • Pay attention to what’s different.
  • Make complex decisions with partial information. It is difficult though.
  • Resolve disagreements and move towards making final decision by:
    • Revisiting and retesting assumptions
    • Verifying that the objectives appropriate
    • Setting a deadline in advance
    • Agreeing upfront on the disagreements that cannot be resolved
  • Communicate and implement the team’s decision by notifying the stakeholders involved and people affected by it.

Note: An individual cannot make decisions independently when he/she works in a team that follows a process-oriented approach.

  • After communicating the decision identify tasks, assign resources, and set deadlines to accomplish your decision.
  • Give room for tweaking the final decisions with some adjustments.
  • Increase your odds to be successful in implementing your decision.
  • Make ethical decisions and question them when required, by:
    • Legal test
    • Stakeholder test
  • Follow these steps to identify your decision:
    • Specify  all objectives
    • Define successful performance level and outcome
    • Paint a picture of what things will look when problem is resolved
    • Make sure objectives and outcomes are not conflicting
  • Follow a prioritization matrix to make a well calculated decision.
  • Follow the point-counterpoint technique.
  • Follow the virtuous teaching cycle. (i.e. Learn &Teach and Teach & Learn).
  • To lead the team towards the best decision have the following:
    • Ideas
    • Values
    • Emotional Energy
    • Judgment Calls (Yes or No)
  • Lead with questions.

His newest book, “Know What You Don’t Know”, helps business leaders find and prevent problems before they happen. In his previous book, “Why Great Leaders Don’t Take Yes for an Answer: Managing for Conflict and Consensus,” Professor Roberto shows how to manage the interpersonal dimensions of decision making — the social, political, and emotional aspects that so often determine success.
He is the Trustee Professor of Management at Bryant University. Professor Roberto served for six years on the faculty at Harvard Business School and has been a Visiting Associate Professor of Management at New York University’s Stern School of Business.


  • Don’t base your decisions on your past success
  • Don’t be over confident of your assumptions and develop few alternatives
  • Don’t resist major deviations
  • Don’t be biased on your opinions and ignore the facts that might provide other alternatives
  • Don’t follow the extreme individualism behaviors, it will lengthen the decision making process and interfere in making right decisions
  • Don’t assume at the very beginning itself that you know what the problem is
  • Don’t use faulty analogies
  • Don’t make decisions too early or too late.
  • Don’t communicate the incomplete information to the stakeholders involved and people affected by the decision.
  • Don’t just be a learner but try to become a teacher of what you learnt by sharing the knowledge that you gained.

About the Author

Harry Anthony is a senior technical writer with ten years of experience. He has written documents for variety of audiences, with emphasis on product manuals, user guides, white papers, web content, online help, recorded web classes, live virtual class, and installation guides.

He has worked on Enterprise Mobility Solutions, Enterprise Application Integration (EAI), Process Manufacturing Industry, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), and Supply Chain Management (SCM) products in the past with companies like Motorola, Sun Microsystems, Oracle, and CA.

He holds a bachelors degree in the commerce and postgraduate diploma in computer applications. He is pursuing his Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

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