Business Basics: Decision-Making

For at least several thousand years, at least since Aristotle, the three steps of the decision-making process have remained essentially the same:

1.  What is the question to answer or the problem to solve?

Comment: If you don’t get this right, eveything else is blah blah blah.

2. What are the best options?

Comment: This question is best answered by members of group with diverse perspectives but who think logically.  Principled dissent is imperative but zealots need not apply.

3. Which is the best of them?

Comment: If the answer were obvious, you wouldn’t need the first two steps. Focus on probable implications and potential consequences. “If we do X, what will happen?”  You get the idea.

Sometimes making no decision is the best decision. Other times, making no decision is the worst decision and creates more and worse problems to be solved.

I think the single best source for an abundance of knowledge and wisdom about decision-making is Judgment: How Winning Leaders Make Great Calls, co-authored by Noel M. Tichy and Warren G. Bennis and now available in a paperbound edition published by Portfolio/Penguin Random House (2009).


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