"Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level." — Peter Drucker
Decision making is an essential part of business in all organizations. In traditional companies this power is typically held by few managers at the top of the organizational ladder. Lean companies however strive to empower their employees to make decisions at all levels through access to data, knowledge of evaluation methods, and defined standard processes. Nevertheless, decisions are necessary in all organizations and the following these guidelines can be beneficial.
1. Timing. Neither making snap decisions nor always having to “sleep on it” is the best approach to the time factor involved in making decisions. Make your decisions based upon the circumstance and the time available. Within the realm of practicality, give yourself enough time to take the following decision-making steps.
2. Define the problem. Be careful not to confuse symptoms of the problem with the real problem.
3. Identify the options. Try to get at least four alternatives. Since you may be too close to the situation, seek others’ input.
4. Gather the facts. In order to evaluate your options, you must gather the facts about the ramifications of choosing each option. List both the pros and cons of each option.
5. Evaluate the options. Usually this will include a comparison of costs, time required to implement and the expected end result of each option.
6. Choose and put into effect. Key, and often neglected, aspects of implementing decisions are to communicate the decision to the affected parties, outline why the decision was made, why the particular option was picked, what actions are required on their part and what beneficial results are expected.
Not every decision will be right but if you follow these six guidelines you will find you have many more right decisions than wrong decisions. Remember, the only thing worse than a wrong decision is no decision.