The Art of Effective Decision Making


If you can’t easily make decisions, you shouldn’t be in business. Being an entrepreneur constantly requires you to make decisions and remain firm in them so that goals may be achieved as promised. Sometimes partners and employees may agree with you, heated debates and high emotions will arise forcing everyone to compromise.

We know that stating your decision is often the easy part. However, reaching a decision is the more difficult process – often becoming grueling especially when there are more people involved. Sitting in a board room screaming and yelling at one another, or dead locked in a passive aggressive debate with 5 other board members is not how any business owner wants to spend an afternoon. In fact, it will deter most of us from making decisions or will turn us into the dictator boss most employees hate.

However, simply skirting around decision making, or making a quick decision to avoid conflict, won’t make you well liked or very productive either.

Nearly 75 percent of all business owners make decisions based off unproven data or intuition. Big mistake. Not only is this incredibly reckless, but it could lead to a business decision that could cripple or halt business operations. If you want hard facts to make an adequate decision, use business analytics, and if you have to make a group decision, use decision analytics – not your intuition.

Business analytics give you the numbers you need, but not all decisions can be based off numbers alone. This is where decision analysis comes in.. Decision analytics rely more on logic, and often create solutions based on the experience of other corporations. Some companies may even hire outside firms to help with decision making – this is often why you see a company with a diversified board of directors.

You don’t need a board of directors, however, to use decision analytics. The basic steps for doing so are as follows:

  • Identify Company Objectives
  • Collect Info Pertaining to Current Situation and Future Objectives
  • Brainstorm Ideas for Solutions
  • Analyze Info and Possible Solution Ideas
  • Choose a Solution/ Make a Decision

Decision analytics may seem completely bogus, but that is because it is far more abstract than other decision making methods. Companies like Conoco and Chevron have long stood behind decision analytics, and both are eager to say they do so because it works time and time again. Decision analysis is effective as it not only provides proven solutions, but it also keeps individuals from making rash decisions when under pressure. Some problems just can’t be solved with equations, and for those types of problems decision analytics can help.

Riley Kissel is a Southern California-based writer who graduated with a BA in English from the University of San Diego. You can find her posting her thought on a variety of topics across the web.

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3 Responses to “The Art of Effective Decision Making”

  • Decision-making is a crucial part of good business especially very important for management and leadership. There are processes and techniques to improve decision-making and the quality of decisions. I agree with Riley Kissel that some problems just can’t be solved with equations, you need decision analytics for translating the formal representation of a decision and its corresponding recommendation into insight for the decision maker and other stakeholders.

  • Brandt Smith

    Benjamin – I agree that decision making tools are important, especially with large corporations. One thing that is often missed is….actually making a decision. This is the critical step, and while it is important to gather data and use tools, at the end of the day too many businesses avoid making a decision!

  • Decision making is very very important. In the tourism business I face challenges when a tourist gives us a fixed budget to plan for them how the money would be used. In this case I have to make hard decisions to satisfy the client at the same time remain in business.

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