5 Tools and Strategies for Enhanced Decision-Making
The art of powerful decision-making is something every successful manager must master.
Effective decision-making is an essential part of running a business and drives organizational performance.
The data showed that companies who excelled in formulating and executing decisions gained 6% more returns than their competitors.
In many organizations, managers implement decisions, but only about 60% of managers believe that their decision-making skills are sufficient.
That’s why managers need training on their decision-making techniques.
Let’s start with the psychology behind how to make better decisions. 👇
Table of Contents:
Chocolate or vanilla? Free membership or a paid membership? Dine-in or eat-out? These are types of regular decisions we all face in our lives.
While we are quick to make some decisions, others require more thought and consideration.
No matter what decisions you’re facing, it’s always beneficial to understand strategies to maximize your decision-making process.
How to Make a Good Decision
Many factors influence the decisions we make in our lives.
We often form opinions and choose a course of action from mental processes influenced by biases, logic, emotions, and memories. Therefore decision-making is a mixture of intuition and rational thinking.
While we aren’t in control of all aspects of our brains’ decision-making mechanisms (many are unconscious), we can utilize strategies to ensure we are improving our decision-making skills.
The best strategy for making the right decisions lies in a step-by-step approach.
Using a step-based process can help you make more deliberate and informed decisions, increasing your chances of choosing the most satisfactory outcome.
The first step to better decision-making is to identify the problem causing you to make a decision.
When we first face a problem or issue, it can be hard to pinpoint it and the choices that have to be made to resolve the problem.
In this step, you want to analyze the current situation and paint a picture of what’s happening.
Start with the impact the issue has on the situation and the consequences of not solving the problem.
After you’ve examined the scenario and can clearly explain the situation, summarize what you’ve analyzed into a simple problem statement by filling in the blank: “The problem I’m trying to solve is _______.”
Finally, ask yourself why this is a problem and do so repeatedly until you land on an obvious source.
Once you have a firm understanding of the issue at hand, you can now gather information.
A good rule of thumb to follow is to consistently gather more information than you’ll use as a decision because a decision is only as good as the information you have available to you.
Every strong decision is strong in proportion to the surplus of details you choose.
Once you’ve done your research, you’ll now be able to identify some apparent alternatives to choose from, which will result in an informed decision.
After figuring out the alternative paths you find valuable, you need to weigh the options using the evidence you’ve gathered.
Always keep in mind the benefits and consequences you will face in the light of each alternative and think about maximizing the potential benefits.
Finally, an essential part of any decision-making process is acting on that decision. Make sure to follow through with the choices you make and reassess if need be down the road.
For a shorter step-by-step decision-making approach, you can also check out Matthew Confer’s Ted Talk on Three Steps to better decision-making.
Types of Decision Making in Management
There are four types of decision making managers face:
1. Programmed Decisions
2. Process Decisions
3. Operational Decisions
4. Strategic Decisions
Below you will find a description of each and the desired outcomes.
1. Programmed Decisions
These decisions are repetitive and deal with simple, everyday, frequently occurring issues with established procedures.
These decisions are made based on existing protocols within the organization.
For example, making purchase orders, salary increments, sanctioning different forms of leave, etc.
Managers follow a set of established procedures and processes in these routine decisions. Hence the name programmed.
Often these decisions are straightforward and require little analytics in making them.
The primary decision-making process in programmed decisions lies in creating the procedures and policies that must be followed. This leads to the next type of decisions making managers face.
2. Process Decisions
The most vital part of any management job is process management.
A process management component is coming up with the processes and procedures that will follow on various projects.
Process decisions include what you want the project’s outcome to be, deadlines and milestones that must be met to reach that outcome and team members that will work on various aspects of the project.
Effective process decisions are the key to successful management.
3. Operational Decisions
Operational decisions, also known as tactical decisions, relate to present issues an organization or team faces.
The desired outcome of these kinds of decisions is to increase efficiency within the organization.
Factors that influence operational decisions’ efficiency include the state of working conditions, levels of supervision, use of resources, and so on.
Operational decisions are often made with a short-term focus on improving the here and now.
4. Strategic Decisions
These decisions relate to the output of the business.
For example, defining new niches, better situating a product in a market, what ad campaigns to run, and what message are all examples of strategic decisions managers have to make.
Strategic decisions are often made with long-term goals in mind, including the business’s values and visions.
Strategic decisions are also made to ensure short-term goals are met so that the business can continue reaching its milestones and its short-term goals.
5 Decision-Making Techniques
As a manager, one of your top priorities is to find ways your team can assist in helping the organization achieve its objectives.
Here are five techniques to take your management decision-making skills to the next level.
1. Take a Process-Oriented Approach
People often think of decisions as events, but this is rarely the case.
Instead, decisions are part of a process. As a manager, this means you’re tasked with establishing a decision-making process.
Your first step in developing an effective decision-making process is ensuring the right questions are asked.
You then train your team to analyze the problem and viable craft solutions.
By following a structured and step-by-step process, you create an effective plan for obtaining team and business goals.
2. Involve Your Team
Decision-making shouldn’t be done in a vacuum. Team members should always be involved in your decision-making process.
Your team members will help you make better decisions by bringing various points of view to the problem, stimulating creative problem-solving.
Team decision-making pools collective knowledge and experience from all members, which help uncover and overcome implicit biases of the group.
3. Foster a Collaborative Mindset
There are two mindsets you need to consider to instill collaboration in your team. One is better than the other.
- Advocacy: This mindset views decision-making as a contest. Individuals seek to persuade others of their ideas, defend their position, and downplay any weaknesses.
- Inquiry: This mindset navigates decision-making collaboratively with a problem-solving orientation. Individuals test and evaluate assumptions by presenting balanced arguments, considering alternatives, and being open to constructive criticism.
Team members feel encouraged to speak up and share their points of view with an inquiry-driven mindset versus discouraged and dismissed in an advocacy-driven mindset.
Strive for your team to make decisions with an inquiry-driven mindset. By using this mindset to make decisions, your team members will feel empowered to think critically.
4. Create and Uphold Psychological Safety
The only way to ensure your team members feel comfortable sharing their ideas and unique perspectives is to create an environment of psychological safety.
Psychological safety is the most important dynamic of any high-performing team.
When team members feel psychologically safe, they are comfortable sharing their ideas, and that’s how you get new information and perspectives out. This enables innovation.
To help boost your team’s psychological safety, you need to be respectful and give fair consideration when listening to your team members’ ideas, which will help them feel more engaged.
👉To learn how to create psychological safety on your team check out the leadership training programs at Unicorn Labs
5. Reiterate the Goals and Purpose of the Decision
Always remember the goals and purpose of the decisions you’re making.
The goals that you want to achieve will be clearly stated before and during the decision-making process. This will help you relate your decisions to your objectives.
When making decisions about important and complex issues, revisiting your goals and purpose is crucial to ensure that your team is motivated and aligned with the organization’s goals.
How to Empower Your Team to Make Decisions
When team members clearly understand how their contributions affect the team, they feel empowered to act and make decisions within their roles.
When you empower your team, you give them room to speak up and share more collaborative feedback.
As team members feel empowered and are comfortable sharing ideas, you will start to see a leadership culture’s formation.
In a high-performing team, leadership is fluid and something all team members can empower to make decisions for themselves instead of being told what to do by their managers.
Team members understand that they can rely on each other for help, and given any problem, they can work together to find a solution and make the most strategic decision.
From this article, you have learned the psychology behind decision-making, which will improve your decision-making skills as a manager.
You have gained a better understanding of the kinds of decisions you have to make as a manager and five techniques for better decision making.
Finally, you now know how to empower your team members to make their own decisions, which will help them find autonomy in their work and help them increase their productivity.