A Guide to Teaching Decision Making

The decision to get out of bed instead of hitting the snooze button one more time of 1 of the 35,000 decisions. If you add up all these small and big decisions, it may add up to that substantial number. 

In this article, we will be focusing on:

  • How You Can Make Excellent Decisions
  • How You Can Teach Others the Art of Decision Making 
  • What Are the Different Methods of Decision Making

What Is Decision-Making?

In simple terms, decision-making is regarded as evaluating a situation and coming to a conclusion based on your knowledge and the research you may have conducted. By following the proper steps, one can easily master the skill of making good decisions. 

Important Things to Know Before Making Decisions

Before diving right into the whole decision-making procedure, it is essential to know some things beforehand. These things have a massive impact on your final decisions because they will determine your behavior and affect your thought process. 

1.   Difference Between Decision Making and Problem-Solving

To some, these two things might be the same, but there is quite some difference between both. Decision-making itself is a part of the complex process of problem-solving. The actions taken in the process of problem-solving are decisions that we carry. That is why you can’t use these terms interchangeably.

2.   What Makes Someone a Good Decision Maker?

There is a criterion of who can be considered a good decision-maker. To be able to make good decisions, one must possess certain characteristics. 

These characteristics are:

  1. Being Able to Prioritize:

If you are an emotional person, the chances are that you will let your emotions sway your decisions; that is why it is vital to gain control over your feelings to effectively prioritize the “right” options rather than giving in to the wrong ones of your emotions.

  1. Being a Good Listener:

Being able to listen to the entire situation before coming to your decision helps avoid misunderstandings and enables you to create a clearer picture of the whole situation. This allows you to hear out the other person’s opinions and perspective on the situation.  

  1. Tolerance To Change:

Being tolerable to change means that one must be able to consider all alternatives in case their most favorable decision does not work out. You must also be open to suggestions given by other people. 

  1. Realistic And Open-Minded:

While making decisions, there is no room to be stubborn because you cannot be stuck on one decision the entire time. You need to consider other options before choosing. You need to base your decision on what would benefit you the most in the end and not what you want to do more. It would be best if you thought about the realistic outcomes of your decision instead of thinking about the idealistic situation. 

  1. Combining Your Intuition with Logic And Problem Analysis:

You need not base your decision entirely on what you know about the situation; it is better when you connect your intuition with logic and problem analysis as it would further refine the choice you will be making.

3.   Criteria of good decision making

You need to keep in mind the following three things before making the decision to know if it will be good for you or not.

  1. Values:

You need to see what you value the most before determining your attitude towards the whole decision-making process. 

  1. Experience:

What kind of experiences do you already have, and what more will you gain from the outcome of this decision? Some decisions you make may turn out bad, but you also need to experience that.

  1. Common Sense:

You mustn’t forget to use your common sense in all of this. By common sense, we mean that you use your own knowledge as much as possible.

A Guide to teaching Decision making

How Can You Make Excellent Decisions?

When making small decisions, you probably do not put a lot of thought into the whole decision-making process, but you must follow some specific steps while making big decisions to avoid losses. 

The steps you can follow are: 

  1. Identify
  2. Evaluate
  3. Plan
  4. Implement

1.     Identify

The identification process may be considered the most important because you need to know what type of decision you will be making before taking any other steps. You need to have exceptional analytical skills to become good at decision-making.

2.     Evaluate

You need to evaluate the entire situation, produce alternatives, and prioritize your most favorable solution at this procedure stage. You can either use your own knowledge and experiences to do this or extend your knowledge by reaching out to external sources. Gather all the information you can to quickly brainstorm more ideas for your final plan. 

3.     Plan

Now you must trace the potential outcomes of all your solutions keeping in mind all the factors that might affect the outcome. Those factors may include all personal and physical aspects. You need to give a logical sequence to your solution and the path it will follow, making sure that you do not rule out any of the risks to avoid any last-minute problems. Another pro tip is to ALWAYS have a backup.

4.     Implement

All you have to do now is to watch the entire thing unroll. You need to accept whatever consequence there is, and you need to make sure that you are familiar with every detail of your plan in case of any questions. Basically, make a choice and act.

Your confidence will always be boosted whenever you make decisions whose consequences are in your favor. It will increase your value in your own eyes and in your company’s eyes, as they too will consider you as an integral part of the organization. 

How Do You Teach Decision-Making?

Teaching decision-making can be tricky; some simple steps to teach someone the art of decision-making are to make them listen, brainstorm, and work their way through the situation by using their intuitive and logical skills. 

Let’s have a detailed look at how you can teach someone decision-making in the most effective way possible:

  • Put them in a situation and allow them to pause and analyze the entire situation instead of rushing them to choose. They need to learn how to identify the problem and be able to brainstorm on their own.
  • You should encourage your students to become better listeners. This would not only allow them to have more knowledge about the situation, but it would also give them another perspective on the situation. Researching and watching videos from different social media platforms to gain more information about the topic also comes under the category of listening. This means that you can provide them with video clips of people who have already experienced it.
  • Though as a teacher, you may feel like you need to guide them at every step, however, during this process, you need to allow your students to try to manage things on their own. Everyone needs to learn from the consequences of the decisions that they have made, and only through that experience will their skills improve.
  • To enable your students to think things through, you need to teach them mindfulness. This would allow them to pause, breathe and reflect upon the situation. This will also help them cut out all of the distractions. Most people often procrastinate and postpone everything because they are too nervous, but by practicing mindfulness, you will be able to relax and think clearly.
  • Another important thing you need to keep in mind while teaching decision-making is to teach your students how to act in different decision-making environments. Yes, the environment also plays an important role in identifying the type of problem and the risk it carries; therefore, everyone must be aware of the different decision-making environments.

If you’re interested in finding out more about how decision-making environments affect our capabilities, make sure you go through my article here, where I’ve explained everything you need to know about it in detail.

  • The only way to keep everyone focused and interested is by making things fun. Ask your students to choose between things they are more interested in and ask them for the reasons why they made that decision.

When you give someone the power to make choices for themselves, it allows them to grow and improve because they learn something new from every decision they have made. This would also raise their morale and make them value themselves as a person and as a part of a team.

What Are the Methods of Decision-Making?

There are many different approaches to decision-making. Here are the top 5 methods through which you can come to a decision:

1.     Consensus

Consensus means that everyone included in the decision-making process must agree upon one plan. This is probably the most time-consuming process because you have to hold many meetings just to make everyone agree.

Every member of the group must put aside their differences and compromise, and they will also be held equally accountable for whatever the consequences are. Consensus is a somewhat analytical approach toward decision-making because everyone analyzes and then gets on board with the plan.

2.     Consult Decision Making 

Consult decision making  is the process in which you hire or appoint a group of experienced people who analyze a situation and provide you with a report on it so you can make the final decision. When you’re facing a rather unfamiliar problem, it is best to take advice from people who have already experienced it and find out how they dealt with it.

Make sure you hop in here to know more about how consult-decision-making works.

3.     Voting 

This is a rather formal approach to decision-making. All possible solutions are discussed, and after the talks, everyone gets to vote for their favorite option. People adopt this approach in groups or committees. After the voting process is completed, the option with the most vote must be accepted by all. This approach saves you from wasting time as well.

4.     Cost/Benefit Analysis

For making business decisions, this method is preferred because you must calculate the cost and benefits of your decisions. After identification, you collect all financial data required and base your final decision on what’s best for your company. This method is used while making important financial decisions.

5.     Trial and error

The trial-and-error approach to decision-making happens to be quite popular because it reduces the final decision’s risk rate. Many businesses adopt this method for making important decisions because you eliminate the things responsible for failing your decision by this. While dealing with the trial-and-error process results, each result is studied carefully to see what is wrong in that particular situation so that mistake is not repeated in the final decision. This type of methodology is also the base for many other decision-making processes, such as the Heuristic and Scientific methods of decision making.

6.     Scientific Method

The scientific method of decision-making is a step-wise procedure. It has 7 different steps to it, which are: 

  1. Question 

Formulate a question about what is under study. This way, you will be able to focus on what is important more easily.

  1. Research

Do as much research as you can on that issue and search for all related and similar studies conducted before.

  1. Hypothesis 

This will be the gist of your research, and this hypothesis will tell others what the subject of your research is.

  1. Experiment 

Experiment means that you must test all of the possible solutions you have come up with to check what is most suitable for you.

  1. Observations

What did you learn from the experiment process? What other changes can you make to make it better? All of these questions are answered at this stage.

  1. Results 

After observing, you need to shortlist all of the things that worked out for you so you know what is best for you.

  1. Conclusion 

The final step is where you conclude which method is the best for you and proves to be the most fruitful and supports the hypothesis you created.

The scientific approach is usually used when you have the time and resources to get something wrong the first time around. 

Wrap Up

To conclude, it can be said that decision-making may not be as simple as it appears to be, and since it is such an essential part of our everyday lives, we need to keep in mind ways to improve our decision-making skills in order to make good decisions. It is not necessary that one must only learn how to make decisions independently. You can practice different methods to improve your skills as well.

For more information, click here.

Emidio Amadebai

As an IT Engineer, who is passionate about learning and sharing. I have worked and learned quite a bit from Data Engineers, Data Analysts, Business Analysts, and Key Decision Makers almost for the past 5 years. Interested in learning more about Data Science and How to leverage it for better decision-making in my business and hopefully help you do the same in yours.

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