7 Steps in Decision Making
7 Steps in Decision Making: from Identification to Implementation
1 Identify a problem or opportunity
- The first step is to recognise a problem or to see opportunities that may be worthwhile.
- Will it really make a difference to our customers?
- How worthwhile will it be to solve this problem or realise this opportunity?
2 Gather information
- What is relevant and what is not relevant to the decision?
- What do you need to know before you can make a decision, or that will help you make the right one?
- Who knows, who can help, who has the power and influence to make this happen (or to stop it)?
3 Analyze the situation
- What alternative courses of action may be available to you?
- What different interpretations of the data may be possible?
4 Develop options
- Generate several possible options.
- Be creative and positive.
- Ask “what if” questions.
- How would you like your situation to be?
5 Evaluate alternatives
- What criteria should you use to evaluate?
- Evaluate for feasibility, acceptability and desirability.
- Which alternative will best achieve your objectives?
6 Select a preferred alternative
- Explore the provisional preferred alternative for future possible adverse consequences.
- What problems might it create?
- What are the risks of making this decision?
7 Act on the decision
- Put a plan in place to implement the decision.
- Have you allocated resources to implement?
- Is the decision accepted and supported by colleagues?
- Are they committed to making the decision work?
Essential Steps in Decision Making: Evaluate and Learn
It’s useful to review how successful the decision has been, and the effectiveness of the decision making process. Monitor these by asking:
- How will you evaluate the success of the decision?
- How can you improve on the decision making process?
- What did you do well?
- What can be improved?
- What are you now able to do that you couldn’t, before implementing the decision?
More on the 7 steps in decision making
You’ll find more on these and other practical techniques in our e-guide: Making Better Decisions.
It’s packed with practical tools, clear processes, great tools, useful tips, thoughtful insights, and emerging ideas on “nudging” decisions.
Use the tools in this guide to help your decision making:
- Tool 1: Do you need to make a decision?
- Tool 2: The POCA decision making model
- Tool 3: Decision levels
- Tool 4: 7 step decision making process
- Tool 5: Team decision making
- Tool 6: Evaluating alternatives
See for yourself how to use the 7 steps in decision making, to help you be a better manager.