Decision-making is an integral part of everyone’s daily life. We make use of this skill in even the small steps of life. Every good decision we make has a significant impact on us and our business. Decision-making is a great responsibility, and for that reason, we need to understand and learn how to make good decisions.
This article will help you identify what you should be looking for in a good decision-making book. Throughout the article, we will go through:
- What Decision Making Is
- How An Individual Can Make Good Decisions
- The Dos and Don’ts of Decision Making
- Some Decision-Making Models
And finally, we will be giving you an overview of some of the best decision-making books on the market.
What Is Decision-Making?
The selection of the best possible solution from amongst many alternative options based upon the knowledge you have after accessing the situation is called decision making.
Some decisions do not have that big of an impact on our lives and therefore are not tough decisions to make, but some decisions must be made after proper research, and the only way to make good decisions is to learn and practice the stepwise procedure of effective decision making.
How To Make a Good Decision?
Of course, every individual has their way of making decisions, and there isn’t a static method that everyone must follow; but there’s a general stepwise guide that can help improve your decision-making skills.
1. Identify the problem at hand:
This is the most crucial step of all because, at this step, you will decide what type of decision you will be making. While listing down the requirements and doing your research, you must be clear about the type of problem you are dealing with to make the right decision.
2. Do your research:
At this step, you will list down what you already know about the problem, consult others who might be familiar with this problem and do some external research on that problem as well. All the information you gather from your personal knowledge is considered the “Internal” research, and any information you collect from sources other than that will be “External” research.
3. Identify all alternative solutions:
When you have done enough research, you will realize that there is not only one way to tackle the situation. Some people may believe that the first solution is always the best solution for handling a problem. However, after proper research, you might realize that there are alternative ways of solving a problem, and some are often better than the first solution. Therefore, the best practice is always to list all the viable solutions.
4. Choosing the best one:
Once you have listed down all the workable solutions, it is time that you weigh the pros and cons of each solution to figure out which one of them is the best. You need to short-list and prioritize the ones you believe will produce the best results. If you have set your priorities right, the solution at the very top of your list should be the most beneficial solution to you.
This is the final stage of decision-making. Here you implement the solution you thought was the best. If the results do not reach your required goal, you can always experiment with the next solution on your list to see if that works out for you.
You cannot just make a decision straight away; there are some questions you must ask yourself before implementing your final decision to make sure you make a sound decision.
Some questions that you can ask yourself are:
- Are you being fair?
- Did you follow the rules?
- How will the results of this decision make me feel?
- How will the results affect your business?
Don’ts Of Decision Making:
Let’s go through some important don’ts of decision-making that you should avoid at all costs.
1. Not providing enough or proving too much information for your proposed solution.
You need to base your decision on sufficient information even if you are short of time to collect it. Because when based upon weak evidence, the decision may end up as a bad one for you as you might miss out on something crucial.
Similarly, if you are to provide too much information, it may create confusion because, in the end, you may become unsure about what piece of information you should use to back your decision. This will only delay your decision.
2. Involving a lot of people
Once you involve too many people, it can get challenging to manage everyone since everyone has a different idea or perspective. And when not managed properly, the clash of ideas leads to conflicts within the decision-making group. Also, choosing one person’s opinion over another’s becomes difficult because you may be afraid of hurting the other person’s feelings.
3. Too much or too little emotional attachment
When you’re too afraid of the changes that will be made due to your decision, you are too emotionally attached to the previous condition. This hinders your ability to make wise decisions.
Likewise, making decisions in haste because you do not care about what would happen afterward shows you’re not emotionally invested enough. That is why it is necessary to compare the pros and cons of the situation before deciding.
Before discussing the decision-making models, we first need to understand the several types of decisions.
There are two primary types of decisions:
1. Programmed Decisions
These sorts of decisions are usually a response to commonly faced problems. An automated response can be developed to deal with such problems, and these decisions do not require a lot of time either. A “decision rule” Can be used to make automated responses to these problems.
2. Non-Programmed Decisions
When someone is facing a unique problem, finding a solution requires deep thinking and analysis of the situation before deciding on anything. These sorts of problems are called non-programmed problems.
These two types can be further classified into three types:
- Strategic Decisions (To plan the layout of something)
- Tactical Decisions (How to perform different tasks)
- Operational Decisions (Made as a response to different problems)
All three of these decisions are a part of the POLC decision-making model’s planning stage.
Now moving on to the other models of decision making:
1. Rational Decision-making Model
This type of decision-making model is also considered the “Thinking First” Model of decision-making. This model requires you to do a lot of thinking prior to making your final decision, and it is usually recommended when you must make a big decision. Since a lot of thought is put into this decision-making process, the chances of things going downside are reduced. When you must make quick decisions, it is wiser not to use this decision-making model.
2. Vroom-Yetton Decision-Making Model
The idea behind this model of decision-making is that you should not be restricted to one particular way of making decisions; instead, you should mold it according to your needs every time. This model is the most flexible model out of all the others.
3. Recognition-primed Decision-making Model
This model is closer to another type of decision-making model that is the “Intuitive” Model. This model requires you to have a lot of experience since it is about imaging how different solutions would work out before deciding. If the plan does not work out how you want it to, you can think of other ways.
Most Recommended Decision-Making Books
Here are some of the most recommended decision-making books that you should study for better decision-making skills.
1. How to Make Sense of Any Mess: Information Architecture for Everybody (By: Abby Covert)
As the name suggests, this book will provide you with a stepwise procedural guide on how to make sense of any mess. Since everything is getting more complicated with each passing day, we need information architecture to make things more understandable for ourselves because otherwise, we would sink into a hole of complex information.
2. The Back of the Napkin & How to Solve Problems and Sell Ideas (By Dan Roan)
This one happens to be a bestseller in the visual problem-solving category.
The idea behind the name “The back of the napkin” is that the author is trying to teach the reader how to solve complex problems using the most straightforward tools and how you can use visual guides to share your ideas with others. This, in return, will significantly improve your skill to share ideas.
3. Streetlights and Shadows: Searching for the Keys to Adaptive Decision Making (By Gary Klein)
Sometimes you feel conflicted between researching a topic thoroughly and using your own intuition to solve a problem. In this book, the author has conducted a lot of research to trace patterns in how people make decisions. The author guides the reader towards a more realistic way of making decisions in real life instead of just following guidelines to solve problems. He does so by challenging popular claims by many people.
4. Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts (By: Annie Duke)
This writer talks about how not only the outcomes of outcome decisions are essential but also the method we choose to implement our decisions. We need not consider what we as individuals think of a situation, but instead, we should be open to input from the rest of our group members to make good decisions as a group. We must not only focus on the best possible solutions because everything has a probability of turning out good, and sometimes what we think in our minds is terrible could turn out to be good.
5. Smart Choices: A Practical Guide to Making Better Decisions (By John S. Hammond, Ralph L. Keeney, and Howard Raiffa)
“Smart choices” is yet another book similar to “How to make sense of a mess,” It also provides you with a detailed step-by-step guide on solving problems. They have named their methodology PROACT (Problems, Objectives, Alternatives, Consequences, Tradeoffs, Uncertainty, Risk Tolerance, and Linked Decisions). As the name suggests, this book will guide you toward making smart choices.
6. Why Not? : How to Use Everyday Ingenuity to Solve Problems Big and Small (By Barry Nalebuff and Ian Ayres)
These authors believe that the ways to find solutions are through:
- Problems that need solutions
- Solutions that require problems
Not only that, but these authors also provide you with different aids you can use to solve these problems. They have given real-life examples of how to solve problems with new and creative methods.
7. Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness (By Richard H. Thaler)
The original edition of this book was the New York Times bestseller written by the Nobel prize winner in economics, Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein.
In this book, the author talks about how we must make some choices about our health and finances, etc., every day and how sometimes we make the wrong choices. The author is not discriminating against anyone, instead talks about how sometimes the situations we are in lead us to make poor choices. This book is based upon behavioral changes, and reading it would “nudge” the reader towards making better choices.
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Upon reaching the end of this article, you must have now realized that a lot of thought goes into the process of decision-making, and it is not merely thinking and doing. The recommended books are there to guide you through the entire process of decision-making and polish your decision-making skills.
For more recommendations, feel free to check out here.