Whether your business is a tiny retail operation or a multi-store conglomerate, change is unavoidable. In order to adjust to the many variables you encounter on a daily basis, you and your staff will inevitably need to make decisions. Exactly how you choose to go about doing so has been the subject of study and practice for as long as companies have been in operation. Attaining a grasp on some of the main decision making models is the best way to get off the dime and act.
Many of the decisions you will need to make are situational. While some will affect your entire staff and will involve a great deal of interaction, there are others that you or just a few people can put into place without much fuss. This model shows you ways to customize your decision-making strategy.
When recognizing the scope of a decision, this model puts forward three important factors to take into consideration:
After you have used these three factors to evaluate your decision, it’s time to determine which leadership style would work best in getting the job done. Options include the following:
By carefully going through this model step by step, you can come to a decision that everyone can get behind.
As the name suggests, this model is circular, implying that the process of making organizational decisions is never-ending. There are four stages of the OODA Loop:
When you run a business of any type, some decisions can be made over time at your own pace but not all. When the situation you are in requires you to make a determination quickly, this model gives you a framework that enables you to do so without sacrificing careful deliberation. It includes three stages:
Experience the problem. Before you can come up with solutions, it is essential that you comprehend as many aspects of the situation as possible. At this stage of the game, listening to all stakeholders is crucial. Try to be as nonjudgmental and open as possible in order to encourage those around you to be forthcoming, and take notes on what you hear to ensure that you do not forget something vital.
Analyze. Now that you have accumulated raw data, it’s time to understand it. What surprises you about the information you have gotten? Has this situation ever happened in the past? If so, how did you handle it? What new wrinkles have come into the picture and why?
Implement your decision. After gathering and analysis of data, your job is to get out of your head and actually make and act on a concrete decision. Since your issue is time-sensitive, it is imperative that you set the wheels in motion quickly and effectively. Figure out exactly what you want to do, who is going to help you do it and when the plan will be executed. Then do it!
The reality is that many decisions are complex and do not simply involve choosing one option over another. When you are confronted with a complicated situation such as this, this model can be very helpful.
To make this model work, you need to construct a chart that visually shows you all the options available to you. It should be laid out in a way that allows you to compare one option with another to determine which of the two is better. You then take that winning option and put it side by side with the next on your list and so on until you have gone through all of your various choices. The winning option is the one that you can then implement. Although this strategy is not ideal for every situation, it can be a terrific decision making tool if you are faced with several compelling competitors.
Because you are human, you have preferences and biases; that goes without saying. However, these should not be allowed to color your business decisions if you can avoid it.
This model helps you to make choices that benefit your entire organization, free from your own personal judgments.
According to this model, there are seven rungs on the ladder to making a decision. From the bottom up, they are:
This model involves recognizing that all of these factors are involved in the decisions we make. Your next job is to follow your thoughts from the lowest rung of the ladder to the highest, looking for places where your individual biases and logical holes interfere with the making of the best possible decision. If you are someone who appreciates logic and structure and are willing to take a hard look at every component of your problem-solving style, this model can be very beneficial.
Long-time managers have the benefit of years of experience and trial and error on their side. If you are a seasoned businessperson who is faced with a problem to solve or a dilemma to overcome, your intuition can be a very effective guide throughout the process of resolving the situation. That is because you have years of knowledge, resources and inside information at your beck and call. Use it throughout the process. That includes discerning that there is an issue, investigating and analyzing it and suggesting ways to move forward. Relying on your intuition is one of the best avenues you can use to come to a complete picture of a complex puzzle because it allows you to integrate starkly different pieces of data. Going with your gut feeling is often looked down upon, but the truth is that trusting your instincts is often your best bet. You can then examine the entire situation objectively before taking action, but in many cases, you will find that your initial thought was spot-on.
Depending on you and the situation you are confronted with, it might make sense to come up with your own unique answer. When you have no choice but to think outside the box or if you are the type of person who thrives on flexible problem-solving, this framework can be ideal. It involves a period of information-gathering and initial insights. The next step is to actually do nothing by letting your thoughts incubate. In due course of time, your creative mind will come up with the way forward. While this model can often lead to strikingly different and innovative results, it is not for everyone nor does it work in all situations. Where time is of the essence or if you are not a creative type, you should look to other frameworks.
The first step in making any decision is to accept the fact that change cannot be avoided. By embracing it and coming up with the best ways to make it happen positively and organically in your organization via decision making models, you can transform resistance into progress. After all, evolution is the dynamic force that can lead your business to increased stability and profitability.