Many professions require a classroom style knowledge of the decision making process. Many times, this rote memory process does not carry over into one’s career or daily life. Application of these principles are essential to success.
There are many models to display the steps in decision making. As a pilot, I have been taught countless models to use, as decision making plays a vital role in my career. With all of these acronyms, I have noticed a pattern, and will describe the basic structure of a decision making model to refresh your memory.
First, one must detect the need for a change. Decisions cause change, therefore the first step is to see that something needs to change. This recognition must be made before anything else can be done in the process. Next, one must choose the outcome. Understanding your end goal is extremely important. While doing this, consider all possible outcomes. After choosing an outcome, you need to make a plan to get there. This is one of the longer steps, as you must consider pro’s, con’s, as well as any other consequences of your decision. Make the decision, and stick with it. After you make this decision, act on it. After you act on it, look back and observe the effectiveness of your decision. If it was a good decision, you are done. If not, you must go back to choosing a new route of action, or potentially a different outcome.
Now, how does this process carry over into our lives? A simple example is while driving a car. Imagine driving down a road, with a car in front of you. That car in front of you hits their brakes, and comes to a stop. Recognizing the fact that you need to stop, or you will get in an accident is the first step of decision making. Next, you choose to hit your brakes and stop, as opposed to swerving around the other car. Hitting the brakes is the route of action to accomplish stopping the vehicle. Choosing this over doing nothing or hitting the gas is considering other options. Your vehicle comes to a stop. Looking back, you realize you made a good decision because you accomplished your end goal. This all happens almost instantaneously, and most people don’t break each step down like this. There are many other examples like this, if you just take the decision making models and think about what each step is.
If you want to apply these steps to everyday life, start by looking at past decisions. Each night, break down a decision proccess from that day, as I have done above. Then, consider how you could improve your decision making skills. You will find that you will begin to making better decisions, without thinking about these models.