When you think of decision-making process, a number of things come to your mind. It could be related to your work, to buying some new furniture for your house, to allowing your daughter to go out for her prom, or about buying those golf clubs now or later. The reason that you have these questions in your mind is because you need to take a decision about these things. You either need to say 'Yes' or 'No' or find out an alternative solution that creates a win-win situation. Thus, your decision is what is needed to find solutions to your questions. So, what do you mean by decision? In simple words, when you take a 'decision' it means you make up your mind or decide about anything that requires your attention.
When you are required to take a 'decision' about something at work, or something at home, or about anything happening in your own life, you may be in a dilemma. You do understand the importance of decision-making, but are still confused about what to say. This is why you need a decision-making process. This process will help you to go through each aspect in a thorough fashion, so that you get rid of the dilemma, any biases that you may have, and arrive at your decision. Let us discuss this process in detail.
As mentioned earlier, the process of decision-making will help you arrive at your decision after carefully evaluating all the aspects of your problem. In order to evaluate, you need to follow some simple steps.
Define the Problem: Making decisions can be a very flustering experience. It is not an issue with small decisions, but in case of bigger issues, it can take a lot of time as we do not want any negative consequences to arise. Hence, this first step is essential. Do not get carried away with any other problems. It is necessary to think about only that problem for which you need to make the decision. Once you isolate all the other problems, thinking about the important one becomes easy.
Fact Collection: The next is collection of all the relevant facts and data. This process becomes easy, as the main problem is already isolated. Considering the issue for which you need to take the decision, you will have to collect all relevant data to help you arrive at your decision.
Solution Finding: Finding solution becomes easier now that you have all the facts and data at hand. Think of various solutions to the problem along with their pros and cons. They will help you eliminate the ones that are not good. A simple way for elimination will be writing the solutions on paper with their pros and cons and scratching out the ones that are not great. This step will help you in narrowing down the solutions to sort your problems.
Select the Solution: Select the best solution after an elimination process. This is where you take the decision, so to speak. If the preceding step was followed correctly, this step becomes easier too. You can make the right decision based on the pros and cons of all the solutions and find the best out of them. An important thing to note here is, that there is no room for vagueness and ambiguity in your decision.
Implement the Solution: Once you have arrived at your decision, the next step is the implementation of the same. Be firm in your decision and communicate it to others, so that the solution is implemented.
Monitor the Solution: When you make your decision, there will be people who will not approve of it and may not follow your instructions. Hence, it is vital that you monitor the situation and ensure that it is followed to the core by all those who are involved. Never skip this step. Another advantage that you get from monitoring is that you can see for yourself, if your decision was correct. If any changes need to be made, you can make them at this stage. You could also ask for feedback from others.
Example of Decision-Making Process
Let us consider an example where you need to buy a new TV set. The decision-making in this situation, will be as follows.
Define the Problem: The problem here is which TV to buy. There will be many suggestions from your family members. There may be someone in your family who states that buying a new DVD player should be the priority. Here, you need to stick to the TV and not think about the DVD player.
Fact Collection: Collect all the data related to different models from different showrooms. You can compare the prices and the models online too.
Solution Finding: Based on the above data and facts collected, narrow down the options. Consider your budget and needs and make a short list of the TVs that you can choose from.
Select the Solution: From this small list, narrow down your choice to select any one TV. Think of an alternative too, in case what you want is not available.
Implement the Solution: Once you have decided, go ahead and buy it. If that TV is not available, then you have another alternative to fall back on.
Monitor the Solution: See if the TV that you purchased is working for you. Check if all the features that you selected work for you or not. You could take the feedback from your family members, if you want.
The decision-making process of utilitarianism, which means making decisions for the greater number and keeping them happy, also works on the same principle. Only, the decisions are very huge and they involve a lot of people. The steps in the process are simple and, if followed correctly, they can make the process of decision-making simple and easy.