Decision-Making Techniques

How to Make Better Decisions

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Decision making is an essential leadership skill. If you can learn how to make timely, well-considered decisions, then you can lead your team to well-deserved success. If, however, you make poor decisions, your time as a leader will be brutally short.

The 40+ techniques explained in this section help you to make the best decisions possible with the information available. These tools help you map out the likely consequences of decisions, balance different factors, and choose the best courses of action to take.

Start by taking our How Good is Your Decision Making? self-test, and then explore different decision making tools in detail. In particular, take a look at our sections on Choosing Between Options, and Deciding Whether to Go Ahead.

The Browse by Category box will help you target specific skills, while you can look through the list below to find interesting topics.

Decision Making Models

The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Decision Model  
Deciding How to Decide

The Kepner-Tregoe Matrix  
Making Unbiased, Risk-Assessed Decisions

OODA Loops  
Understanding the Decision Cycle

The Recognition-Primed Decision (RPD) Process  
Making Good Decisions Under Pressure

Choosing Between Options

Decision Matrix Analysis  
Making a Decision By Weighing Up Different Factors

Paired Comparison Analysis  
Working Out Relative Importances

The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)  
Choosing By Weighing Up Many Subjective Factors

Conjoint Analysis  
Measuring Buyer Preferences

Pareto Analysis  
Choosing the Most Important Changes to Make

Decision Tree Analysis  
Choosing by Projecting "Expected Outcomes"

The Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix (QSPM)  
Choosing the Best Strategic Way Forward

The Futures Wheel  
Identifying Future Consequences

Deciding Whether to Go Ahead

Go/No-Go Decisions  
Deciding Whether to Go Ahead

TELOS  
Conducting a Thorough Feasibility Study

Risk Analysis and Risk Management  
Evaluating and Managing Risks

Plus, Minus and Interesting  
Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Decision

Force Field Analysis  
Analyzing the Pressures For and Against Change

"What If" Analysis  
Making Decisions by Exploring Scenarios

Impact Analysis  
Identifying the Full Consequences of Change

Business Experiments  
Taking Intelligent Risks

Financial Decisions

Cost-Benefit Analysis  
Deciding, Quantitatively, Whether to go Ahead

Break-Even Analysis  
Determining When a Product Becomes Profitable

Cash Flow Forecasting  
Forecasting the Impact of a Financial Decision

Improving Decision Making

Avoiding Psychological Bias in Decision Making  
How to Make Objective Decisions

The Ladder of Inference  
How to Avoid Jumping to Conclusions

Decision Making Under Uncertainty  
Making the Best Choice with the Information Available

"Cautious" or "Courageous"?  
Understand Your Risk Preference, and Make Better Decisions

Six Thinking Hats  
Looking at a Decision From All Points of View

Critical Thinking  
Developing the Skills for Successful Thinking

Blindspot Analysis  
Avoiding Common "Fatal Flaws" in Decision Making

Reactive Decision Making  
Making Good Decisions Under Pressure

Linear Programming  
Optimizing Your Limited Resources

Monte Carlo Analysis  
Bringing Uncertainty and Risk Into Forecasting

The Impact of Ethics and Values

The Foursquare Protocol  
Learning to Manage Ethical Decisions

What Are Your Values?  
Deciding What's Most Important in Life

Spiral Dynamics  
Understanding How People's Values May Affect Their Decision Making

Group Decision Making

Organizing Team Decision Making  
Reaching Consensus for Better Decisions

Bain's RAPID® Framework  
Assigning Roles to Avoid Stalemate

Multi-Voting  
Choosing Fairly Between Many Options

The Stepladder Technique  
Making Better Group Decisions

The Delphi Method  
Achieving Consensus Among Experts

Avoiding Groupthink  
Avoiding Sometimes-Fatal Flaws in Group Decision Making

Hartnett's CODM Model  
Developing Solutions Collectively


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