Decision Making

Prepare to Make a Decision

The smartest business decisions start with careful preparation. There are valuable actions a manager should take to lay the foundation for an upcoming decision.

A manager may need to make some business decisions. For some decisions, one might need to assemble a diverse group of people to help - because a team of individuals with different perspectives is more likely to generate a variety of thoughtful ideas about the decision at hand than individuals with the same background. When a manager works with a team to make a decision, he or she should start by defining the roles and responsibilities of people who will be involved.

Taking a process-driven approach to decision-making has advantages. Understanding that decision making is a process that unfolds over time can lead to broader acceptance of the decision - and to more effective implementation. Managers who recognize decision making as a process increase their likelihood of making more effective decisions, because by taking time they are able to identify and assess the issues associated with making the decision. By involving others, they weigh different perspectives and deepen the discussion. Perhaps most important, taking a process-driven approach is more likely to lead to broader acceptance of the decision—and to more effective implementation.

Creating a framework


It is critical to create a framework and context for making an effective decision, something that would include:

  • Setting the stage: First, you select participants and decide where to hold your meetings. Next, you determine the approach you will take to reach a decision—will you aim for consensus or vote by majority? During the meetings, especially the earliest ones, you set the tone for the group by encouraging open dialogue and promoting healthy debate.
  • Recognizing obstacles: Certain individual biases and group dynamics can be obstacles in the decision-making process. By predicting and recognizing these tendencies, you can take steps to avoid them.

After having established the framework and context the manager can manage the decision-making process by:

  • Framing the issue: A successful decision depends on a clear understanding of the issue at hand and its root cause(s).
  • Generating alternatives: After you've clarified the issue, you brainstorm and generate creative conflict to develop alternative courses of action and ways of proceeding.
  • Evaluating alternatives: Next, you assess the feasibility, risk, and ethical implications of each possible choice.
  • Making a decision: Finally, you choose an alternative.