A search for the ideal decision-making model is like looking for a magic bullet, particularly in your role as a new woman manager. Women, more than men, tend to be overly anxious to “get it right” every time, especially when it comes to making decisions.

Taking that crucial step in the decision-making model – implementing the decision – can give you “nervous knots”. (Remember Tess got them at the end of the movie “Working Girl” when she implemented her decision to take a job making decisions.)

Unless, or until, you have developed a comfort level with decision-making, the following seven-step decision-making model will help ensure you don’t overlook any of the important steps. SEVEN-STEP









Clarify Objective


·         Determine the one outcome you need to achieve and write it down so everyone involved is clear about what needs to be achieved.

·         Ask yourself and/or the group a few questions.  Is the objective realistically achievable, given the timeframe, a budget, available support, etc.

·         Take an honest look for any biases you or members of the group bring to the process





Identify Alternatives


·         Brainstorm all possible options.  No idea is off limits at this point.

·         Be sure everyone participates if this is a group decision.

·         Pay particular attention to factual data.

·         Remember:  doing nothing is always an alternative so be sure to list it.







Compare Alternatives


·         List alternatives, omitting only obvious duplicates or alternatives unrelated to the decision being made.

·         Attach a numerical value (1-10) to each alternative based on how well it satisfies the objective

·         Pay particular attention to any alternative if it requires the sacrificing an ethical principle.

·         As much as possible, keep emotions out of process.  However, if the decision carries a lot of emotion, and some will, refer to the Kepner Tregoe decision-making model at Decision Making Confidence (opens new window) This model shows you how to incorporate emotions into the business decision-making process. 





Choose the Best Alternative


·         Which alternative scored the highest? 

·         Is there anything about the decision that doesn’t “sit right”?

·         There may not be a single “right” decision, but there will always be a “best” decision.  The best might be a hybrid of two alternatives.









Test the Choice


·         Carefully examine your best alternative based on forces that you can’t control but could impact the outcome (budget reduction, loss of a key player, a competitive disadvantage, etc.)

·         Be sure to consider as many risks as possible (rejection of your decision by senior management, sabotage by a dissatisfied team member, etc.).

·         Consider the impact of your and/or the group’s strengths and weaknesses in being able to implement your choice.

·         The final step before implementing a decision is ALWAYS ask, “What could go wrong”?  This step might include a paralyzing weather event, a change in state or national law, an industry or nationwide economic downturn, etc.






Implement the Decision


·         Commit to implementation, but wait as long as possible, depending on the time sensitivity of the decision.  This allows for more information to be received that might impact the outcome.

·         Seek internal and external feedback early and often.

·         Be sure everyone knows their role in implementing the decision.

·         Maximize the benefits and minimize the costs and risks.

·         Implement.





Monitor and Modify


·         Did the decision achieve the desires outcome?  It probably did, but if not, why not? What was overlooked?

·         How well did the process work? Is there anything you could have done differently?

·         Adjust to new information and be willing to revise your plan.



Use “Dashboards” Reports
To “Monitor and Modify” in the
Decision-Making Model

A “dashboard report” is like looking at the dashboard of a car – a quick scan will tell you if everything is functioning properly. In business, it is simply a collection of information used to track the status of an organization’s important business indicators.

Creating dashboard reports will reinforce your boss's impression that you are serious about money management, conscientious, sophisticated, a great communicator and a new woman in management who goes above and beyond what is normally expected.

Regardless of the purpose for a particular dashboard report, set it up on an Excel spreadsheet then create bar graphs or pie charts – whatever floats your and your boss’s boat – to monitor how well your decisions are meeting their original objectives.

A dashboard report is an especially useful tool when you need to modify your final option from the decision-making model.