Decision Making Skills

Effective Decision Making CourseOften, we are willing to accept the maxim that, highly successful people have achieved their status because of the decisions that they made. If we want to be successful, it is reasonable to conclude that if better decision-making leads to success, we should improve our decision-making skills. Also, I believe that we can learn to make better decisions, rather that it being an innate skill.

We make thousands of decisions every day and each one has consequences that could be characterized as positive or negative results. So in an effort to improve our decision-making, this post examines some suggestions.

It may be helpful to divide the learning process into a process as follows:

  • Learn which skills are important to the process
  • Learn how to improve these skills
  • Evaluate the newly acquired skills

Important D-M Skills

Learning decision skills provides the opportunity to increase positive outcomes while decreasing the consequences of failure that are part of the learning process. For important decisions, you should consider adopting a process that will ensure consistency to help you avoid traps and errors.

Here are five elements that you should include in your process:

  • Decide and agree on a method to gather Information and data that will be used in the process
  • Decide and agree on a method of identifying and generating suitable alternatives
  • Decide and agree how you will measure and evaluate risks probability of outcomes
  • Decide and agree on consistent methods to envision or preview outcomes
  • Decide and agree on the time line and communication strategies to stake holders

Improving D-M skills

We make many choices each day, but many of these choices are made because of habits. So it is important to consciously avoid this mistake in a decision-making process. We do learn various lessons from previous decisions, but we don’t want to pay the price of learning from a high value decisions that has significant consequences. The goal is to improve our decision-making skills in a situation or environment where the risk of negative consequences are reduced or eliminated.

Here are three (3) elements that you should include in your process:

Learning to make better decisions will improve by doing. Take advantage of the coaching, mentoring and practice opportunities that are available to you. To the extent possible, your personal and organizational core values should always be prioritized in the framework for all business related decision-making.

Evaluate newly acquired skills

Favorable or unfavorable outcomes do not always imply a good or bad decision-making process. Results of a decision may be influenced by uncontrollable circumstances, time lines, unforeseeable events, and imperfect knowledge. However, skill building in the decision-making process is an ongoing process. So, a constant evaluation process should be considered. Some decisions may have time horizons of years, so it may be more difficult to measure the effects. However, here are some elements that should be a permanent part of your evaluation process:

Some indications that can suggest continuing skills improvement include:

  • Measure outcomes and progress toward long-term goals
  • Test the accuracy and validity of your predictions, recommendations or forecasts
  • Use of failures as opportunities to learn
  • Seek to improve utilization of advice, counseling, and coaching
  • Carefully test the use of different techniques for different decision situations
  • Increase and collaboration
  • Deploy multiple decision-making strategies

Building lasting skills

Decisions define our future and are often a series of connected decisions. Decision making skills cross all disciplines and are transferable to any job, career, or vocation. A focus on these fundamental skills should be considered essential and meaningful.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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