The 7 Decision Making Steps

The 7 Decision Making Steps shown here can be used in a wide array of personal and professional decision making.

These steps can be used for buying a home, car or even a cell phone.

They can be also be used for deciding where to go on a vacation, picking a school to attend and a wide array of other important decisions that you must make. Enjoy!

Step 1: Gather the Facts and Data

The first of the steps used to make an informed decision is to gather the
facts and data.

Step 2: Make your assumptions

The assumptions used while making a decision are important. Per the earlier discussion; ask the following questions about your assumptions:

• Are your assumptions valid?
• If so, why?
• If not, why not?

Step 3: Identify your Options

Once you have identified the options that are available, move to the next decision making step. This is taught in comparison studies.

Step 4: Use logic and common sense

Combine your logic and common sense with the facts and data, assumptions, knowledge and experience. Ask yourself questions like:

• Does this decision make sense?
• If so, why?
• If not, why not?

Address any risks. Ask questions like:

• Are there any risks involved?
• If so, what are they?
• What can be done to minimize or eliminate these risks?

The amount of time and energy invested in making a decision should be in proportion to the importance of the decision. For example, the time and energy invested in buying a house should be proportionately larger than the amount of time and energy invested in selecting an appliance—or even a car.

Using these decision making steps will help you to make wise thoughtful decisions that you will feel good about now and later.

Step 5: Incorporate your feelings

Many people use their feelings and emotions to make most, if not all of their decisions. They ask themselves questions such as: Do I like to color, shape, texture and/or feel of this product? Utilizing feelings without backing them up with facts, data and logic can lead to flawed decision making.

Feelings are an important part of any decision. However, they need to be backed up by knowledge, logic and common sense when using these decision making steps. To learn more go to: The Right Brain Left Brain Crossover.

Step 6: Make your decision

Two primary types of decisions are:

1. A yes or no decision. For example should you buy or continue to rent. Another example is should you change careers.

2. Selecting from options available. Which options should be selected? For example, Jack had options to select when he was choosing a car

Once you have gathered the facts and data, made good assumptions, used logic and common sense, and incorporated your feelings you are ready to make a decision.

However, before the decision can be made, uncertainty needs to be recognized and addressed.

Dealing with Uncertainty

When using these decision making steps, most critical decisions won’t be perfect. The facts and data gathered may be lacking, or in conflict. Feelings may waver on a decision. There will be uncertainty to deal with.

Many people are conditioned from an early age to believe that being wrong is bad. This conditioning can hold them back from making decisions when uncertainty is involved—and it is almost always involved. The more complex the decision, the more doubt will be encountered.

Because of the uncertainty encountered, it is natural to be reluctant to make a decision. Here are two reasons to make a decision after you have completed all of the appropriate steps even if aspects of the project, objective or problem are ambiguous. They are:

1. If you don’t make a decision, (in many cases) it will be made for you.

Being a good critical thinker means taking the responsibility and the initiative to make your own decisions.

2. Most decisions can be changed or modified—if not immediately, in time.

Step 7: Modify or change your decision if needed

Frequently, new facts and data become available after you have made a decision. Sometimes this information will be relatively insignificant, or other times it is important.

If the new information would have changed your mind if received earlier, then you have two possibilities:

1. Modify or change your decision (if possible).

2. If your decision is difficult (or impossible) to change then determine a way to handle it.

Change it in the future if possible. The application of most decision making steps can be changed in time.

Final Thoughts on the 7 Decision Making Steps :

We all have to make decisions everyday. By investing the time to develop these skills you can create a happy and prosperous life.

If you would like to learn more on how you can develop strong decision making skills then see:

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