Understanding Decision Making Process Steps

Different occurrences will always create some kind of problem in the organization. Usually, it is not difficult for managers to come up with a good solution. But some problems need decisions sensitive to the entire organization. Think about loss occurring as a result of some new features added to the business. How it will be tackled can have a significant amount of negative impact on the company. The worse is bankruptcy. No one wants that. Truth is that to avert a dangerous situation, a decision making process must be used, for it contains elements that can examine the problem and solution better than impulsive thinking. The steps of decision making process given below will help you understand it better:

1. Define the problem

This is a bit complex and time consuming. A problem comes in various shapes. Examples include symptoms, confusions, conflicts, disappearance of something and accidents.  No matter what the problem is, it must be clearly defined. This makes it easy to understand how serious it is. Another advantage of it is that it helps understand when to solve it and for who.  It can also save the managers from getting their reputation ruined.

They are accountable to stakeholders. This means that they must have explanation for why a certain decision has been taken. Clearly written problem can work as support. However, when looking for a technical problem, it is good to involve the subordinates, for they are equipped with technical knowledge, making the task easier and quicker.

2. Analyze the problem

Look for as much information as possible. It is important to get the current data connected to the problem and decide if something is missing in them. There is nothing wrong in searching for additional information. But yes, no data should be taken as trivial despite the fact that anything irrelevant is not required to be collected. Bottom-line is that the manager must look at the information he needs to come up with the decision. Once again, this stage needs help from subordinates. Analysis of problem requires manager to be as objective as possible, yet keep in mind the value of the company and its products or services. Things to focus on must be quality, integrity and reputation. In other words, it is important to weigh the effect on stakeholders. At this stage of decision making process, it is also important to look for contribution from upper management, colleagues and subordinates, for it is impossible for one person to be all knowing and team work is actually far more effective, and empowering.

3. Develop Alternatives

Once the problem has been analyzed, its solutions must be designed in the form of alternatives. It is important to have as many as possible. It is important to involve the subordinates here. Their input can do wonder. Also in a situation like this team effort cannot be ignored. As mentioned earlier, one person is not capable of understanding every aspect of the organization. Consequently, what he develops may end up being unrealistic and rejected by all. Now the best tool to use for development of alternatives is brainstorming. Doing it with all the members can create a discussion powerful enough to understand the pros and cons of each alternative. The other tool is Internet. It can be used to learn how other organizations solve the target problem can bring in enlightenment on what alternatives to create. When the problem is more about consumers, surveys can come in handy. One thing many organizations underestimate is their ideas which if turned into reality can bring in profits.

Last would be expert advice. This can be expensive, but small organizations can actually get it for free by contacting professors working in universities. Many of them love to teach students through hands on experience which actually is not easy to come up with. Not all universities are ready to pay for it. Their main means, therefore, are organizations seeking help. It does not always happen. It is the best kept secret.  Contacting and telling a professor about the problem will allow him to connect the manager or business owner with a class. The students on his behalf would look into the problem and come up with alternatives. In this way, their effort gets them grade and the organization gets alternatives. But yes, it is important to contact the specific department. If the problem is related to human resources, loss of profit or anything product oriented, a business department should be the main choice.

4. Evaluate all solutions to pick the best

When selecting the best alternative budget, effect on subordinates and daily work should always be kept in mind. In other words, the risks should never be ignored. Best option is usually the one which promises economic effort, yet best result. It must be something that gets a yes vote from all the team members. Ethics should not be compromised. It is always good to see if it is legally okay. When it is difficult to select one based on available data and discussion experimenting with each can come in handy. Using a decision making tool available in the form of software can also be helpful. Some of its examples are 1000Minds, MetaTeam, Intelligent Decision System and Decision Lens.

5. Implement the best and follow up

Time to now put the best solution to action. However, work here does not end. The solution should be investigated for its effectiveness. Thus, following up on it is necessary. This should be done through communication and cooperation. The subordinates must be instructed to collect the data on the solution. Cooperation must be encouraged to understand the solution properly. Everyone should have a say on how it is working. Other plans and alternatives designed previously should be preserved for emergency cases such as failure of the best picked solution. At the same time, eyes should remain for changes taking place in external environment. One of the most sensitive elements is technology. It changes too fast, affecting the business. Consequently, despite having the best solution, managers should never give up tactical planning which involves changing with time for efficiency.

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