So what are decisions anyway?
Decisions take ambiguous information and make an outcome. Some see decisions as a set of finite cognitive steps, and some see it as part of a circle of deciding and learning. Both are true, and overall they share common ideas but with different level of detail. After all, the steps are just a framework that represents something that can happen in an instant.
My favourite is the 6 step model:
1. Define the problem
The simple example of defining the problem is when we are presented with two or more alternatives. For example, “Do we follow option X or option Y?” Or perhaps you have received a specific question like “Should we commit resources to this?” But this is rare and clinical – the real world is much more nuanced.
2. Identify alternatives
You’ve got your problem identified, and you immediately think of alternatives A, B and C. Are they enough alternatives? How can we identify more?
3. Evaluate alternatives
It is time to evaluate our listed alternatives. You probably have a gut feel already, but how can we do this more rigorously?
So we now have some well evaluated alternatives, and finally it is crunch time. Someone has to make a decision.
We have made our decision. Now what? Surely everyone will just crack on with it. Or maybe not…
6. Follow-up and evaluate the results
Learn from the outcome, but keep an eye on it too. Is it time to course correct?
The above 6 step model is pretty simple, and only an overview. We will spend the next few sections on each of these. We’ll break it down, explore some tools, think about some of the people issues (dare we call it politics?), and try to propose some way forward when it is not so clear which way to go next.. Please feel free to comment below to add to the discussion
Steve is a Product Development Manager at Telstra Wholesale. The views expressed in this post are his only and do not necessarily reflect the views of Telstra.