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Decision Making, Part 3: Steps to Improve Strategic Decision Making

Decision Making, Part 3: Steps to Improve Strategic Decision Making

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE ENTITLED, “DECISION MAKING, PART 3: STEPS TO IMPROVE STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING SKILLS” IS BY DR. SHANNI DOVER

 

 

Hello again, Dear Reader. In the last two articles in this series, “Decision Making”, definitions and literature were reviewed. Also noted was the distinction between strategies and tactics as these terms pertain to decision making. In this last installment, I will review ways in which to improve strategic decision making abilities. Let’s take a look.

 

 

Strategic Decision Making:

As discussed previously, our ever changing environment can have a deleterious impact on our ability to make cogent decisions. This is particularly true when the environment imposes some type of threat. These threats on our lives can often throw us into panic mode in which our bodies are literally preparing to do battle. In this heightened state of awareness, our body releases chemicals that prepare us for fight or flight. Historically this response likely saved lives, helping to ensure continuation of the species. However, in modern times this panic mode can deplete our resources and leave us incapable of effective problem solving.

 

The success of our problem solving can hinge upon variables that are certainly beyond our control. Therefore, it is imperative that we attempt to make wise life choices. As we can currently observe, there are many unpredictable and uncontrollable aspects to our lives. Given that this ambiguity is unavoidable, it would behoove us to learn ways to make better decisions in the face of adversity.

 

Making sound judgements in our frenetic, uncertain world can be problematic at best. In 2017 (the Oracle), “11 Steps To Improve Your Strategic Decision Making” was published. Although this is a business related article, review and application of these steps can perhaps assist us in our daily decision making endeavors. The eleven steps are as follows:

 

  • Simplify the battlefield – By identifying the parsimony in any ill- defined problem, decision making skills can be augmented. Define your priorities while considering your options. Then, rank those options in order to choose the best option to move your decision making forward.
  • Get comfortable with the cost of deciding – By refusing to decide, we are in fact making a decision. Therefore, when you feel stuck in problem solving you must self question. By asking yourself questions such as, “Am I moving forward?” one can be more mindful in the decision making process. Costs of indecision can include severe anxiety over past mistakes and future decision making. Remember, in facing decisions we will undoubtedly face unknown elements. These unknowns must be faced with courage.
  • Control your emotions – Yes, an almost impossible feat but control can be exerted over your own actions, which includes how you choose to process your feelings. Furthermore, the more important the decision, the more emotional we can become. With this in mind, we must impose rational, logical thought in any decision making process. To do so, we must courageously face fearful situations with a rational mind.
  • Understand that logical decisions have a secret emotional component – Even seemingly rational decision making will invariably contain an element of emotionality. The trick is balance. Three questions can be asked, “What’s the upside?”, “What’s the downside?”, and “Can I live with the downside?”
  • Know what you want – Ask the questions, “Is this getting me closer to my goals? Or is it taking me away from my goals?” Discard ideas and/or elements that take you away from you desired outcome.
  • Say no – Here it is suggested that we say no to everything outside of our core goal of successful decision making. Skilled problem solving requires one-pointed attention. When something enters the equation, ask, “What’s the best case scenario?” and “What’s the worst case scenario?” These questions can help guide our decision making.
  • Build a filter system – Here it is noted that good decision making is often run through filters. By asking questions such as, “Does it (the decision) impact me and my family in an ethical, moral and positive way?” and “Does …the decision help…my growth plan?” Without some kind of filtering process, we can flounder when given a number of possibilities to examine.
  • Proximity is power – It is here that the authors note that, “…it’s a culmination of multiple experiences that truly shapes your insight in the decision making process.” They indicate that we must place around us the people/means by which decisions can be brought to fruition.
  • Do your homework – Due diligence is required when decision making. Do the necessary research required for you to make wiser judgments. Complex decision making may require advice from experts. It is suggested that 2 to 4 people could be sought for input. To build a reliable method of decision making, a team approach could be implemented with friends and/or family.
  • Build an A Team – Gather the necessary information to improve strategic decision making. By tapping a variety of sources in a team type approach, we can potentially gain knowledge that will help us to make smarter decisions.
  • Develop wisdom – Good decision making brings rewards; conversely, poor problem solving will bring undesirable consequences. Taking into account our experiences can change our level of knowledge acquisition. By accommodating new information, we gain personal insight essential to growth. Thus, we can develop wisdom in our decision making.

 

Conclusions:

We have learned that decision making can be an arduous and complex endeavor. However, applying some simple questioning strategies, we can develop wisdom in our decision making processes. As problems are faced in life, we can improve our decision making skills, ultimately improving the quality of our lives.

 

As always, please feel free to leave comments and/or questions you may have pertaining to this article. Please let me know what is of value to you, and what you would like to see more of herein. I will be taking a brief hiatus from these writings. Until the next time, Dear Reader, stay safe and healthy!

 

THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE ENTITLED, “DECISION MAKING, PART 3: STEPS TO IMPROVE STRATEGIC DECISION MAKING SKILLS” IS BY DR. SHANNI DOVER

 

 

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