We explain what decision-making is and the main strategies it involves. In addition, we discuss its importance and provide examples.
What is decision making?
Decision-making is the process of gathering information and evaluating multiple variables or possible alternatives before making a choice.
There are many ways in which we make decisions on a daily basis, whether relying on chance (flipping a coin), thinking rationally, or following one's intuition.
However, for issues that may have a greater impact or may involve several people in the decision-making process, especially in the business environment, it is important to think and evaluate potential options or paths in detail to clear doubts and choose the best possible course of action.
Decision-making in a company is a process which is usually reached jointly or is shared with other team members before it is implemented.
For example: The decision to hire a new company manager must be previously agreed on by all board members.
- See also: SWOT Analysis
Decision-making is a process that involves careful thinking and analysis of possible alternatives and courses of action to follow. Through various tools and strategies, it is possible to give order to the multiplicity of alternative options to make an objective decision.
The key to arriving at the right decision is to think and analyze ahead of time the various possible alternatives to resolve a situation until a decision that is convenient or satisfactory for all involved is reached.
The steps below are the guidelines for selecting the best alternative in the decision-making process:
- IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM. The first step is to understand the need or problem to be solved. We sometimes want to solve a situation but lose focus by addressing multiple issues at once. It is thus important to focus on a particular issue at a time. In order to recognize the problem we should ask questions like: What is the issue that has come up? What is the purpose of making a decision about it? How long should it take to be solved?, among many other questions.
For example: You are a student at university and will start a remote job as content writer, which you will do in your spare time. You need a computer but can't decide whether to buy a laptop or a desktop computer. The former is cheaper, while the latter is more powerful and more durable, but more expensive.
- GATHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION. You can choose features to consider and write them down on a piece of paper, based on your preferences, economic priorities, or a comparison of the pros and cons of each option. Writing down information helps the mind to organize a diversity of variables and to clearly identify the alternative or decision that will yield the most benefits. You can make your computer choice by applying the following strategies:
- Decide based on feelings. You decide on a laptop because you like it more, it can be transported anywhere, and its design appeals to you.
- Decide based on priorities. You can make a list of all the features or priorities you expect to get from a computer, such as price, portability, quality, or performance. If your priority is to take it wherever you want, the laptop is clearly the best option.
- Decide based on comparative score. You can make a comparative list between both options, including your priorities and the percentage (according to your perception) each alternative meets.
You can make your choice of computer by applying the following strategies:
- For example:
- 10 points for the laptop PC. Because it is more inexpensive.
- 6 points for the desktop PC. Because it is more expensive.
- 10 points for the laptop PC. Because you can take it anywhere you want.
- 1 point for the desktop PC. Because it cannot be transported.
- 6 points for the laptop PC. Because it has limited space to install hardware, such as memory.
- 10 points for the desktop PC. Because it is versatile and has enough space to install larger capacity hardware.
- Final result. This is obtained from the sum of the scores:
- 26 points for the laptop. It got the higher score, therefore, it is more convenient.
- 17 points for the desktop computer.
From the analysis carried out as an example, based on your priorities and the use you will give to the computer, it can be assumed that a laptop computer is more convenient for you.
- REACH A CONCLUSION. After considering, analyzing, and writing down the most important features on a piece of paper to clearly understand the pros and cons of each alternative, you will be able to reach an objective decision.
Importance of decision making
Decision-making is a daily task in people’s lives and business management, which allows to choose the best possible solution to a problem. The difference between personal and business decisions is the magnitude of variables at stake in each decision-making process.
In addition to basic strategies, there are specific tools to optimize decision-making in companies. They make it possible to organize multiple tasks and monitor them in order to have enough information to make decisions.
- The use of business management software allows a company to obtain periodic sales, profits, and expenses reports, among other data.
- Flowcharts are graphs that summarize certain company processes and tasks, allowing for the application of protocols and courses of action to follow depending on the issues that may arise in the workspace. In this way, employees can arrive at the right decisions and avoid mistakes.
- Laoyan, S. (2022). Toma de decisiones: definición, pasos, tipos y características. https://asana.com.
- GCF Aprende libre (2019). Pasos clave para la toma de decisiones acertadas.
- Crecimiento personal (video). https://www.youtube.com.