8 Step Decision Making Process

Although there’s no magic formula for making the right decision every time, this 8-step process will help you to facilitate sound decision making.

Step 1: State the Problems

There is no more important step in problem analysis than defining or stating the problem. This may sound simple—and it is. But because it is such a simple step, many people make the mistake of not doing it. Failing to clearly say what the problem is wastes time and effort. In order to find a correct solution, the problem needs to be correctly stated. Spend some time on this first step to save time later in the process!

Step 2: Accept that it is Your Responsibility to Solve the Problem

The second step requires you to decide whose problem this is. Is it yours? If it is yours, you have to do something about it. Is it the group’s problem? Does it belong to someone else? If it belongs to someone else, then give the problem to its owner and get on with other things.

Step 3: Collect Data or Information

Getting good data or information is very important to problem analysis. You will want to keep an open mind during this step so your own beliefs do not stop you from getting good data.

If the problem belongs to a group, do not give your feelings and views to the other members. Get good data and give it to the group as you found it. As the data is given, don’t use bad information and do not jump to quick decisions.

Step 4: Organize the Data

In order for you to be able to work with all the data received, it will have to be organized. Information should be set up so that the entire problem can be seen. Decide how pieces fit together.

Step 5: Interpret the Meaning of the Data

After all of the data has been collected, put the information in order so you will understand what you are facing. All parts of the problem should be looked at.

Step 6: Find the Real Causes

Now that you have looked at the data and studied the problem, you should begin to see what is causing the problem. Be sure you are looking at the causes and not the symptoms.

Step 7: Put a Decision into Action

Now, you have reached the decision-making stage. It is time to try out the best decisions. Decisions are possibilities. Decisions are ideas. Decisions are new ways of doing things. Decisions answer the question: How can I make this happen?

Step 8: Test the Results

Without this important, but often ignored, last step, you will never learn whether your decision was a right one. Look at your plan and its results. Often, even a carefully reached decision turns out to be wrong. By looking at the results, you can return to your decision-making process better informed, repeat the process, and reach a correct decision.

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