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What Makes a Great Decision?

What makes a great decision? You’ve probably thought about that before. But the truth is, if MAKING the decision was all there was to it, great decisions would be quite simple. But there’s considerably more to it. After a decision is made, you must manage that decision, and that is where most of us fail; in the management phase.Implementing the decision is what transforms thought to reality. Framing the decision, innovating as we think it through, and then deciding, we focus our energies on generating clarity for the future we want to see happen. When we take the management step, we move into actually implementing the decision we have made, working to see the results we envisioned.Decisions almost never live in isolation. Decisions are limited and controlled by other decisions. Each choice we make is either influencing or being influenced by the other decisions we have made, directly or indirectly. Managing our decisions, or decision implementation, requires that we manage our related decisions to lead us to our desired purpose and intent, individually or as part of a team. There must be a “manage” step in our ongoing activities to handle tasks and communication associated with the decisions we make.Decisions lead to two types of consequences:

  • Actions or tasks that result from the chosen solution alternative(s). You know how that is: One decision leads to more work or necessary actions.

  • Guiding requirements that can lead to follow-up decisions needed to implement the current decision. You also know how this is. Sometimes decisions must be supplemented with other decisions. You must realize that a decision that is not managed and implemented (not resourced, not funded, not acted upon) will die without getting the desired results.

Asking yourself some pertinent questions can help you identify possible consequences for a specific decision

  • What business or personal relationships might be impacted with this decision?

  • What actions or tasks are required to implement or manage this decision?

  • Are there other follow-up, or domino decisions, that must be made to move the decision to reality?

  • Will the decision I want to make have an impact on, or cause a conflict with, previous decisions? If so, what decisions need to be reconsidered?

  • Who needs to know about the decision? Do I have stakeholders, invested people in one way or another, who have a right to know what’s happening?

  • What actions or tasks will be necessary to transition to the new reality when decision implementation is complete?

When in the process of deciding, always identify risks and opportunities in that decision. For every one of those, create a list of any tasks that come to mind that could help reduce the risks of the decision, or increase the odds of opportunities.Risk and opportunity follow-up decision actions can be handled in three possible ways. To manage toward a great decision, make sure tasks are appropriate for the risk or opportunity adjustment approach:Monitoring Actions:Design a task that will help you monitor for indications that the risk or opportunity is about to occur or has occurred. When a risk or opportunity truly becomes reality, new decisions and actions will likely be required. Have the situation and facts supporting the original decision changed?Preventative or Acceleration Actions:Design a task that will help prevent a risk or pump up an opportunity.Conditional Actions: Design a task that will put something in place in advance to deal with risk or opportunity wisely and clearly.It’s a good idea, in the areas where you desire the highest impact or there is a high probability of risk, to have all three actions pre-designed and ready to go to increase the likelihood that your decisions will be managed into being great ones.The key to great decisions is decision management.

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