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Improving decision making skills

Effective decision making means you make things happen instead of letting things happen.You will find that making decisions are required in every activity.These decisions will take place in a situations and problems and can range from the very simple to very complex.As a manager you must make the right decisions to direct and guide events and actions into a planned course instead of letting events fall to chance.

Making good decisions is a skill like any other and needs to be practiced.This article will go through the steps of the decision making process.If you are not taking every step, this will be the first part to improving your decision skills.At the end of the article will be some suggestions to help you improve these steps in your management style.

1. Recognize the problem.
You must first recognize that a problem exists and that change is needed.Once you see that a problem exists, try to define the problem completely.Big problems must often be broken down into smaller, easier to deal with, components.

2. Analyze the problem.
You must now analyze the problem to make sure you understand all of the issues that are involved.You don't want to resolve a problem to only find out that you addressed a symptom and the root problem still exists. Be specific as possible in your analysis.

3. Consider your goals.
Make sure you factor in the goals that you are trying to achieve.A solution today may work, but if it is only temporary and your end goals need a more permanent decision then you may not have found the best decision. Becoming more aware of your goals and the priorities you place on them will help you see more clearly what is desired.

4. Look for alternatives.
You will want to find as many plausible solutions as possible.Do not just find the most practical or feasible solution.You will want to find as many solutions as possible so that you can have a number of choices when you make your decision.The issue will often determine how much time and money can be spent researching the alternatives and which alternatives are viable.However, remember you end goals will also drive these alternatives.

5. Select the best alternative.
Analyze each alternative considering the different costs involved.Keep in mind that costs are not only financial.You have time, employee moral, and a number of other costs that must be considered.Turning off the heat is an alternative to rising utility bills, but it may not be the best solution if your company goal is to have a high retention for their employees.How many winters will you work at a job with no heat?

If there is no one best alternative or none at all which seems satisfactory, perhaps a new alternative can be created by compromise, or by combining some of the possible ideas you have. Occasionally, you must make a decision to postpone action in order to seek more information, but don't put off making any decision just because you don't have a perfect answer.

6. Put your decision into action.
Make the decision and put it into action.Make sure you allocate the proper resources to take action.It doesn't do any good to decide to turn on the heat if no money is allocated in the budget.

7. Accept the responsibility.
You made the decision, now monitor how the resolution to the situation is working.If it does not work, take responsibility and be ready to make another decision.

8. Evaluate your results.
Did the decision you came up with resolve the situation and bring your company closer to their end goals?If so, then you made a good decision and this will help you make decisions in the future.If not, what could have been done better and use this information when making the next decision.

Here are some guidelines to follow to improve your decision making process:
1.Become aware of your companies end goals so that you can always be headed towards those goals.For instance, you don't want to make permanent solutions in an area of the factory that will be renovated soon.
2.Be objective when viewing the problem.If you become emotionally involved, it will be a lot harder to come to the best resolution.
3.If a decision is reversible, make up your mind quickly. Practice making quick decisions when the outcome involves only small changes.
4.If a decision is not reversible, allow time to thoroughly consider all alternatives. "Sleep on it."

In summary, making a decision is a skill that needs to be practiced continually.You must implement the 8 steps of the decision making process and evaluate each decision to help make the next decision.

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