Oftentimes, people really have a difficult time deciding and choosing between or among options. Indecisiveness is not something innate. An indecisive person can master the art of good decision making. One way to make this happen is to apply a practical technique when making decisions.
The various tools and techniques of decision making are very helpful in teaching people how to become quick and smart decision makers. There are so many of these decision making tools and one can choose any of these techniques which seems applicable and useful for the situation.
Some Strategies in Decision Making
When the need for a decision is caused by a problem or an issue, potential solutions may be presented but only one option will be chosen. In the process of narrowing down the options to get to the most feasible choice, there are strategies in doing so.
In this strategy, the most practical solution or alternative to the problem is chosen from among the list of possible alternatives. There are factors to be considered in optimizing:
- significance of the problem
- time availability
- cost involved
- accessibility of tools and resources
- personal values and beliefs
The term came from the combination of “satisfactory” and “sufficient.” This strategy is done by choosing the first satisfactory option over the best alternative.
Maximax means “maximize the maximums” which is a decision making strategy that openly takes risks because the approach is choosing the alternatives based on their highest potentials and most favorable outcomes.
The term is a combined form of “maximize the minimums.” In contrast to the maximax strategy, the decision maker settles for the alternative with the highest minimum payoff for failures or negative outcomes.
Tools and Techniques
Here are some of the common tools and techniques used by people in decision making:
a. Cost/Benefit Analysis
A tool that allows the decision maker to simply compare the costs with the benefits of something
The acronym stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It is a very useful and effective tool for various situations in businesses and organizations wherein the strengths and weaknesses are identified as well as the opportunities and threats in order to arrive at sound decisions.
c. Pareto Analysis
This tool is useful in focusing on major causes for changes that will bring about huge benefits to the decision maker.
d. Stepladder Technique
The technique works by managing the entry or admission of members in a decision making group. It encourages every member to contribute ideas and alternatives to the group.
Starbursting is a process of gaining knowledge on new ideas through brainstorming but the focus is more on the questions and not on the answers.
PMI tool is used for arriving at quick decisions that do not quite have problems. The acronym stands for Plus, Minuses, and Interesting points.
g. Paired Comparison Analysis
It is a tool that helps determine the relative significance and feasibility of the alternatives.
h. Decision Trees
With this tool, the decision maker can choose from among alternatives by foreseeing the possible outcomes or courses of action.
i. 5 Why’s Technique
This is a very simple but effective tool that requires analyzing the problem at hand by asking “Why?” and “What caused it?” The question “Why?” is asked simultaneously 5 times, thus the term 5 Whys.
j. Six Thinking Hats
Here is another powerful tool that allows the person to look at decisions from various perspectives by thinking out of the box or going beyond the conventional manner of thinking.
The Significance of Decision Making Tools and Techniques
The various tools for decision making are so useful in providing structured data and close-to-accurate information and details. There are tools that are primarily used for projecting or forecasting possible outcomes, so decisions undergo elimination of choices in the process. Other tools are suitable for simulating different alternatives while some can serve as leading tools for a decision towards a certain direction.
There are techniques that apply to workplace and business settings. Certain tools work best for individual decision making. It is important to choose the tool carefully and choose the one that is most appropriate to the situation at hand.