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My Introspective

by Laurus Nobilis
My BrainCast

Human Resources

Basic Skills: Decision Making (E)


Decision Making



What is the role of decision making in business? What are the tips for development of contingency decision making skills?


Posted: Aug 2009

Decision making is the skill that is part of Ability to execute group of basic skills. Decision making is the ability to conclude based on facts and make the consequent decision, in order to make progress of situation. Decision making is the skill important for all executive positions. 

Decision making is necessary for the business in order to make adjustments to new situations. The decision can be proven to be right or wrong, but the worst situation is one without decision at all. 


Manages risks intelligently and takes responsibility for making well analyzed business decisions (thinking, ‘as an owner of the business’).

Key Behavioral Indicators

  • Makes timely decisions, even in ambiguous situations

  • Takes important issues and potential outcomes into account when making decisions

  • Checks assumptions against facts

  • Creative in problem-solving to enable decisions

  • Considers the effects of external market forces on business decisions

  • Considers both the short and long term impact of decisions

  • Makes decisions as if the financial or other risks were one's own

  • Involves those who will be affected by decision helping them understand the “why” of the decision and in considering the actions to take

Tips for Development

  •  When making a decision, get in the habit of asking whether the decision is viable and practical for you and your work unit. Consider the specifics of the situation. Think through all possible results of the decision (both positive and negative) to ensure you have covered all you bases.

  • Before making any final decision, put yourself in the shoes of all those who will be directly and indirectly affected by the decision. Assess the impact of the decision on them whether they are likely to accept it, support it or fight it. What risk do you believe they perceive in the plan? How can I address and overcome their anxiety or opposition? Continually ask yourself how and why someone would react to your ideas. 

    Decision making is the skill that is part of Ability to execute group of basic skills. Decision making is the ability to conclude based on facts and make the consequent decision, in order to make progress of situation. Decision making is the skill important for all executive positions. 

  • Clearly identify, understand and articulate what you are trying to accomplish and the criteria for success

  • Identify several options for getting the results you desire. Do not automatically accept the first solution/alternative that comes to mind

  • Gather as much information as possible within the time available and weigh up the alternatives, considering the impact of each on the required outcomes.

  • Use the information to develop and sell your decision and plan to the stakeholders.

  • Once you have made a decision, stick by it as long as it remains a viable and practical decision. 

  • Identify potential problems – what could go wrong to interfere with the intended results of your decision/action – by analyzing the overall action plan and critical steps within the action plan. Identify preventive actions to keep potential problems from occurring. Identify contingency plans to minimize the negative impact of potential problems that occur on your plan.

  • Involve appropriate people throughout the decision making process – for example, stakeholders, people who have information or expertise you need to ensure a high-quality decision, people who will be involved in implementing the decision or will be impacted by the decision to ensure buy-in and commitment.

  • Strike a balance between detail-oriented and instinctive decisions. Avoid ‘shooting from the hip’ and ‘analysis paralysis’. Use your intuition and experience to supplement your analysis, not to take the place of analysis.

  • Double check data and assumptions related to important decisions.

  • Talk with others in the organization to find out how they approached difficult decisions.

  • Be open to changing your decision or to adapt your course of action if new information becomes available, or if the situation changes.

  • When you need to take quick action:
    1. Quickly gather the information from a few reliable sources
    2. Break the issue into parts. Act immediately on the urgent part and buy time to act on the remaining parts
    3. Test the water before acting with a few key stakeholders
    4. Minimize risk by choosing alternatives that can be revisited when more information is available.
    5. If you must act now, do so even if information is incomplete or if risks are involved, but don’t always assume that others’ “crises” are urgent.

  • Implement and communicate your decision

  • Inquire into the effectiveness of your decision, review results and think about how a similar decision can be improved next time.


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