What Can Prevent Effective Decision-Making? - Deepstash

What Can Prevent Effective Decision-Making?

There are a number of problems that can prevent effective decision-making. These include:

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The opposite problem, but one that is seen surprisingly often: having so much conflicting information that it is impossible to see ‘the wood for the trees’.

This is sometimes called analysis paralysis , and is also used as a tactic to delay organisational decision-making, with those involved demanding ever more information before they can decide.

This problem can often be resolved by getting everyone together to decide what information is really important and why, and by setting a clear timescale for decision-making, including an information-gathering stage.

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Decision-making processes often founder under the weight of vested interests. These vested interests are often not overtly expressed, but may be a crucial blockage. Because they are not overtly expressed, it is hard to identify them clearly, and therefore address them, but it can sometimes be possible to do so by exploring them with someone outside the process, but in a similar position.

It can also help to explore the rational/intuitive aspects with all stakeholders, usually with an external facilitator to support the process.

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Sometimes it’s difficult to make a decision because you just don’t care one way or the other. In this case, a structured decision-making process can often help by identifying some very real pros and cons of particular actions, that perhaps you hadn’t thought about before.

Many of these issues can be overcome by using a structured decision-making process. This will help to:

  • Reduce more complicated decisions down to simpler steps;
  • See how any decisions are arrived at; and
  • Plan decision making to meet deadlines.

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People are often very attached to the status quo. Decisions tend to involve the prospect of change, which many people find difficult.

For more about overcoming this, see our pages on Change Management , but also remember that ‘deciding not to decide ’ is also a decision.

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If you do not have enough information, it can feel like you are making a decision without any basis.

Take some time to gather the necessary data to inform your decision, even if the timescale is very tight. If necessary, prioritise your information-gathering by identifying which information will be most important to you.

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Making decisions by committee is difficult. Everyone has their own views, and their own values. And while it’s important to know what these views are, and why and how they are important, it may be essential for one person to take responsibility for making a decision. Sometimes, any decision is better than none.

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RELATED IDEA

1. Delaying the Important Stuff

It is important to take time out and analyze the situation and look forward to resolving an issue.

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 Identify Your Goal

One of the most effective decision making strategies is to keep an eye on your goal.

This simply means identifying the purpose of your decision by asking yourself what exactly is the problem that needs to be solved? And why does this problem need to be solved?

Figuring out what's most important to you will help you make good decisions. When you know the reason why you have making a particular decision; it will better serve you in staying with it, and defending it.

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Default options

Deciding is too much effort so we’re likely to just stick with the default or safer option if it’s already been chosen for us. 

When we get offered too many choices, the same thing happens—we shut down, unable to decide. Often, we end up simply choosing anything, just to get the process over and done with.

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