Decision making is the discipline across the art and science; gut feeling and data driven; confidence and humility.
One of the most important tasks for management is to make decisions, however, across the sectors, many business leaders still make “gut feeling” only decisions all the time, what’re the logical scenario to make effective decisions? Technically, how shall you weigh in the data and gut feeling to make the effective decision at the right time?
(1) Framing the question: The key decision factor is how you frame the issue (to be decided on), another factor needing more attention is WHO makes the decision. The big “WHY” as the framing question is in the rigorous pursuit of its answers. One has to realize context, motivation, structure, and longevity. No one word is more powerful than "WHY" in pursuit of vision and solution to the problems. Define and clarify the issue - does it warrant action? Next define if the matter urgent, important or both. Does your decision-making process include opportunities? Opportunities need to be identified as well and you need to know they fit with your strategy, be them growth, cost focus, market development strategies.
(2) Gather all relevant available information: One of the prerequisites is to recognize your own frame of reference prior to making any decision. If you do not recognize the lens through which you make sense of the world around, you are unknowingly captive to your own predispositions. Achieving such awareness through serious self-reflection frees you from the habituated 'scripts,' and allows you to see new possible options before decisions are made. Hence, collecting necessary information is an important step in making an objective decision. The data gathering step is heavily driven by many factors to ensure teams aren't spending a lot of time or effort gathering information that is not necessary for the decision at hand. What exactly is the decision to be made and what are the key factors that will drive that choice? Any other information can be a lot of noise. The more important the decision, the more you need to have all the data, perform all the preparation, with the increase of confidence of success, but the search for perfection is the enemy of decision-making. The more perfection you seek, the more you risk falling into the trap of analysis paralysis. So it’s important to take your decision as a calculated risk.
(3) Brainstorm possible options and solutions: Consider and compare the advantages and disadvantages of all options. Select the best option - avoid vagueness or indecisiveness. The thing, however, that the human brain cannot do, is to do a comparative assessment of many decision criteria - both quantitative and subjective, concurrently across many options, initiatives or programs etc, but the advanced decision intelligence tools can help. When leveraging the tool weighing trade-offs, it's important that the team has determined the relative importance of each factor. One alternative may have a lot more strengths than another, but all those strengths together may not be nearly as important as the 1 or 2 strengths that another alternative has. So effective decision making needs to well blend both information and intuition; think fast and slow accordingly.
(4) Explain the decision to stakeholders involved and affected: When landing on the final choice, ask questions like:
- What can you do to mitigate the risks/weaknesses that you've identified in this choice?
- If you cannot mitigate or remove those risks, are you still willing to move ahead with this choice?
-What are the possible outcomes of making this choice, and how to handle the different scenario?
The business clients might not be interested in the actual technical details as to how analytics generates insights for decision making, but the actual measurable results should always be able to win over believers.
(5) Follow up to ensure proper and effective implementation: Once you make a decision, then you must take action - or you really have accomplished nothing towards solving the challenge that faces you and your organization. So the further questions are needed to keep track of actions and results: ‘Who is to take action?' 'How will we know the action is completed?' and 'What is the consequence of not taking action’? And the proper set of metrics will help present the tangible results via action taken, also make it possible to improve the future decision making.
Digital business is complex and uncertain, decision making is more often a complex scenario. Think fast, think slow. Decision making is the discipline across the art and science; gut feeling and data driven; confidence and humility; and more often than not, it takes both multi-disciplinary knowledge and light bulb type intuition to make effective decisions.
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