Decision-making is the process of selecting alternative courses of action to achieve set objectives. As executives, we are frequently called upon to make strategic, tactical, and operational decisions.
In my first article, I introduced the eight-step decision-making framework. This framework may not solve all decision situations. However, it will help you get started and work toward resolving your problem, whatever it may be. Click here to enjoy the first article.
|1||Understand the situation/business dynamics.|
|2||Define the business problem.|
|3||Be guided by objectives.|
|4||Brainstorm on alternatives.|
|6||Evaluate alternatives against criteria.|
|7||Take a decision.|
|8||Develop an action plan.|
Today I’m going to talk about stages three and four. This means we’re halfway there.
Stage Three: Identify the Objective
To clarify what you or the decision protagonist are truly attempting to achieve, take a moment to reflect on the critical goals. What do you truly desire? What exactly do you require? What are your expectations? What are your objectives? These questions would get you thinking critically.
Why are Objectives Important?
Objectives serve as the foundation for weighing the various options available to the decision-maker. In other words, they are the decision criteria/criterion. The goals you establish will help guide your entire decision-making process. Objectives assist you in determining what information to seek. Objectives can assist you in explaining your decisions to others. The importance of a decision is determined by its objectives, as is the amount of time and effort it deserves.
It is important to remember that problems can be classified. There are well-defined problems and ill-defined problems. Ill-defined problems, as the name implies, are those that lack a clear goal. It makes finding solutions to such problems difficult. You may be unable to identify the expected solution. Well-defined problems, on the other hand, are those that have simple solutions. These problems have well-defined goals, which makes estimating the magnitude of the problem and identifying feasible solutions easier. If we identify such a problem, we may be able to plan.
You will be able to identify your primary goal more easily if you keep the following in mind:
- Objectives are personal.
- Different people facing identical situations may have very different objectives.
- Different objectives will suit different decision problems.
- Objectives should not be limited by the availability of or ease of access to data.
- Unless circumstances change markedly, well-thought-out fundamental objectives for similar problems should remain relatively stable over time.
- If a prospective decision sits uncomfortably in your mind, you may have overlooked an important objective.
I follow the step-by-step instructions below to nail the primary objective. I invite you to give them a try.
- Write down all the concerns you hope to address through your decision.
- Convert your concerns into succinct objectives.
- Separate ends from means to establish your fundamental objective.
- Clarify what you mean by each objective.
- Test your objectives to see if they capture your interest.
Stage Four: Generate alternatives
As soon as you are clear about the fundamental objective, you will have to work on identifying the likely solutions.
Watch out for my next article to read about stages five to eight.