Decision making skills may be defined as a set of techniques used to facilitate individual or group decision making, and the evaluation and prioritization of alternatives.
Decision making techniques aid in structuring ideas and focus attention on evaluating alternatives carefully to enable more effective decisions to be made. Evaluation criteria used in the decision making process can be qualitative, or quantitative depending on the nature of the decision to be made or the problem to be solved.
There are numerous decision making techniques which can be used. Most commonly used are decision-tree analysis and some form of forced ranking or decision matrix, sometimes known as Kepner Tregoe. Other decision making techniques include:
- Monte Carlo Simulation
- Least Distance Regression
- Factor Analysis
- Game Theory
- Linear and Non-Linear Programming
- Goal Programming
- Probability Distributions
Purpose of Decision Making Techniques
The purpose of decision making techniques are to facilitate group consensus-based decisions on problems, solutions, and on the evaluation of alternatives. Decision making techniques are used to distinguish the alternatives and possible consequences of a decision, or sequence of associated decisions, in advance of final recommendations.
The benefit of using decision making techniques is that it facilitates the objective evaluation of actions, recommendations, and solutions by a group to achieve an unbiased decision.
Decision Making Guidelines
Prepare for the decision making process by collecting information relevant to the subject area. Uncover and separate opinions from facts, prior to the group session dedicated to achieving a consensus-based decision. Determine what decision making technique will best serve the group that is being convened and prepare any presentation materials and/or handouts that may be necessary.
In a facilitated group session, focus on clearly stating the problem to be solved, the issue to be resolved, the decision to be made, or the alternative to be evaluated. Use facilitation techniques to obtain ideas, suggestions, and to test opinions to enable objective decision making.
Apply the appropriate decision making technique to the problem. Once a decision has been reached and to facilitate buy-in and commitment, communicate the decision verbally and/or in writing to those stakeholders affected by the decision.