Professional Decision Making Process

24th Aug 2015

By: HITS Marketing Team


Managers are often referred to as “decision makers”. However, there are managers who dislike decision making, which is sad since it’s a key part of their job.
Most managers are afraid of being wrong. They see any mistake as a major failure, sometimes they are very conservative, or they might be working for superiors who can’t tolerate failure.
However, some people simply don’t know how to take a decision, they lack a framework for decision-making. So, here is a six-step process for making decision in a rational way:

  1. Define the problem.
    Making a right decision depends on firstly defining the problem correctly. If your sales are falling the problem could be law quality, high prices, poor performance by the sales force, or new competition. Each problem would call for a different solution. So start by asking “what is the problem” this may require exploration.
  2. Gather information.
    Good business decision are based on good information. Once you define the problem gather all the relevant facts. This often require research, such as studying competitors, talking with suppliers, searching an electronic database, or hiring a consultant to dig up facts.
  3. Analyze the information.
    Having information is not enough, because different people can draw different conclusions from the same facts. Therefore, you may need to apply analytical tools to the facts. These tools often involve making calculations or setting up charts showing he connections between facts. You may even have a decision-support-system in order to help you understand the facts and what they mean.
  4. Develop options.
    When you have a decision to make, you need to have choices. For example: when you need to increase sales in the fact of new competition, you could improve quality or cut prices. You could hire more salespeople or pay your current salespeople differently. Options like these give you a basis of comparison, and give you a better chance to find a real solution instead of doing what seemed like a good idea at the time.
  5. Monitor the outcome.
    Generally, the only way to know whether your decision solved the problem is to follow up afterward. If your solution worked, great. If not, you may need to take corrective actions, try another option, or even reexamine the problem to make sure that you defined it correctly, got all the facts, and analyzed them properly.

In various forms, this process of decision-making promotes rational business decisions that can be explained to others. (Meaning that even if you mess up, you’ll at least be able to tell your boss what you were thinking at the time.)