Skip to main content

Decision Making For Dummies

Decision Making For Dummies

Dawna Jones

ISBN: 978-1-118-84753-4

Sep 2014

384 pages

$17.99

Description

Discover the best approaches for making business decisions

Today's business leaders have to face the facts—you can't separate leadership from decision making. The importance of making decisions, no matter how big or small, cannot be overstated. Decision Making For Dummies is a candid resource that helps leaders understand the impact of their choices, not only on business, but also on their credibility and reputation. Designed for managers, business owners, and anyone else who makes tough decisions on a daily basis, this guide helps you figure out if the decisions you're making are the right ones.

In addition to helping you explore how to evaluate your choices, Decision Making For Dummies covers ways to receive support for decision making, delves into various decision-making styles, reviews the importance of sifting through data and information, and includes information on ways to engage others and make decisions collectively. Being in charge can be challenging, but with this guide, you don't have to go it alone.

  • Discusses the effects of decision making and outlines the considerations that must be made to gain trust and confidence
  • Demonstrates ways to communicate particularly sensitive decisions, and offers approaches for making bold decisions that challenge the status quo
  • Delves into the risks and benefits of certain decisions, and shows readers the best ways to evaluate choices
  • Outlines smart strategies for engaging others and drawing them into the decision-making process

Crucial decisions need to be made every day in the business world, so there's no time to waste. Make Decision Making For Dummies your primary resource for learning to choose your actions wisely and confidently.

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 4

Where to Go from Here 4

Part I: Getting Started with Decision-Making 5

Chapter 1: Big-Picture Pressures on Decision-Makers 7

Making Decisions in an Ever-Changing World 7

The ground shifting beneath your feet 8

Assessing what these changes mean to you 11

Embracing Uncertainty and Unpredictability 12

Increase integrity and truth-telling 13

Notice what is happening on the innovative edges 13

Don’t limit planning to an annual task 14

Make your decision-making process values-based 14

Cultivate learning and curiosity 14

Invest in your personal and professional growth 15

Raising the Integrity and Ethics of Business Decisions 15

Overcoming factors that lead to unethical decisions 16

Designing a healthy decision-making environment 17

Chapter 2: The Key Ingredients for Effective Decisions 19

Distinguishing the Different Kinds of Decisions 19

Strategic decisions 20

Tactical decisions 21

Operational and frontline decisions 21

Identifying the Different Decision-Making Styles 21

Recognizing the Workplace Environment and Culture as a Force 23

Mapping your company on the innovation curve 23

Accounting for company organizational structures 25

Assessing the health of the workplace 30

Developing the Decision-Maker: To Grow or Not? 30

Knowing thyself 31

Avoiding temptations that obstruct sound decisions 31

Chapter 3: Company Culture and Decision-Making 33

Recognizing the Importance of Company Culture 34

Paying attention to invisible forces 34

Assessing your company’s mindset 36

Spotting addictions in company culture 37

Creating High Performance Workplaces for Decision-Making 38

Paying attention to long- and short-term focus 38

Using smart design to speed up decision-making 39

Paying attention to working relationships 42

Assessing Risk and Its Impact on Decision-Making 43

Understanding how humans perceive risk 43

Working with risk in a complex world 46

Part II: Knowing and Growing Yourself as a Decision-Maker 49

Chapter 4: Growing Your Business by Growing Yourself 51

Connecting Personal Growth to Effective Decision-Making 51

Exploring vulnerability as a leadership quality 53

Having compassion for the ego 54

Tapping into emotions for effective decision-making 55

Recognizing How Beliefs Influence Decision-Making 57

Examining your beliefs: Do they limit your options? 57

Understanding how you perceive insight, intuition, and vision 60

Acknowledging hidden bias or prejudice 60

Gauging Personal Comfort with Conflict and Ambiguity 62

Using conflict to your advantage 62

Understanding classic responses to conflict 64

Chapter 5: Raising Self- and Organizational Awareness for Better Decisions 67

Understanding How You Make Decisions 68

Instinctual decision-making 68

Subconscious decision-making 68

Belief-based decision-making 69

Values-based decision-making 70

Values-driven decision-making 70

Comprehending the Value of a Deeper Intelligence 71

The link between your heart and your head in decision-making 71

Putting this knowledge to work 72

Reducing Stress to Make Better Decisions 73

Manager, manage thyself 74

Managing the manager 75

Practical ways to reduce stress in working relationships 76

Chapter 6: Learning from Mistakes and Unintended Consequences 79

Engaging in Reflective Learning 79

Identifying blind spots in the decision-making process 80

Learning from decision errors and disasters 80

Turning Hindsight into Foresight 81

Monitoring implementation and assessing risk 81

Foreseeing inadvertent effects of a decision 83

Listening to feedback from key suppliers and customers 84

Implementing other’s ideas wisely 85

Stopping to see the big picture 86

Overcoming persistent problems with procurement 88

Building Character and Credibility through Mistakes and Failure 91

Accepting personal responsibility 91

Separating good judgment from judging others 91

Communicating authentically 92

Reinventing your self-identity 93

Part III: Jumping In: The How-to of Decision-Making 95

Chapter 7: Understanding Intuitive Decision-Making 97

Getting the Lowdown on Intuition 98

Defining intuition 98

Unraveling myth from fact 98

Knowing how intuition differs from impulse and fear 100

Understanding the benefits of intuitive decision-making in business 102

Understanding How Intuition Works 103

Processing incoming data 103

Forming patterns from cues 104

Building Up Your Intuitive Powers 105

Identifying your intuitive strengths – the mechanics 105

Improving your intuitive intelligence 108

Uncovering procedures that interfere with intuition 110

Removing the risk of overwhelm 110

Balancing the Rational with the Intuitive 111

Chapter 8: Laying the Groundwork for All Decisions 115

Reviewing the Essentials for Sound Decisions 115

Identifying purpose 116

Seeing ahead: Clarifying the endpoint 118

Determining timing: Why now? 120

Assessing commitment: Your own and your colleagues 124

Calculating the risk and impact of doing nothing 126

Deciding Who Decides 128

Factoring in management style and working environment 128

The buck stops where? Authority and responsibility 129

Investigating Decision-Making Models 130

Relaying top-down decisions: The command-and-control style 131

Using consensus 132

Building a Team for Participatory Decision-Making 134

Chapter 9: The Nitty-Gritty: Walking through the Decision-Making Process 135

Clarifying the Purpose of the Decision 135

Identifying the reason for the decision 136

Taking a tactical or strategic approach 136

Taking the Blinders Off: Eliciting All Relevant Info 137

Doing your research 137

Gaining some distance to stay objective 138

Paying attention to different perspectives 139

Separating fact from speculation 140

Including feelings as information 140

Knowing when you have enough 141

Sifting and Sorting Data: Analysis 142

Conducting your analysis 142

Critically evaluating your data 143

Making assumptions intentionally . . . or not 144

Establishing and weighing criteria 145

Avoiding analysis paralysis 148

Generating Options 150

Avoiding the one-option only trap 150

Broadening the option pool by tapping into others’ creativity 150

Vetting your top options 152

Assessing Immediate and Future Risk 153

Identifying risks 153

Considering people’s response to risk 154

Mapping the Consequences: Knowing Who Is Affected and How 156

Making the Decision 156

Communicating the Decision Effectively 157

Implementing the Decision 158

Putting together your action plan 159

Deciding what is important: Metrics 160

Setting priorities 162

Learning from the implementation process 162

Decision-Making on Auto-Pilot: Intuition in Action 164

Grasping intuitive decision-making 164

Taking a closer look at intuition in different situations 165

Chapter 10: Tackling Various Types of Business Decisions 167

Visionary Decisions: Getting a Grip on Direction and Focus 167

Strategic Decisions: Moving from Here to There 168

Making high-level strategic decisions 169

Applying strategic thinking to lower-level goals 170

Adjusting your strategy as necessary 172

Operational Decisions: Seeking Out Efficiencies 172

Going to frontline employees for ideas 172

Making operational decisions: Things to think about 174

Financial Decisions: Raising and Protecting Your Cash Cow 175

Securing financing 175

Sustaining cash flow 176

Avoiding the five most common financial errors 176

Problem-Solving Decisions: Getting to the Root of Issues 177

Uncovering and addressing the root cause 177

Tackling problems creatively 179

Making Partnership and Joint Venture Decisions 180

Determining whether to pursue a joint venture or partnership 180

Chapter 11: Exploring the Decision-Making Tool Kit 183

Adopting an Approach That Gets Engagement and Results 183

Differentiating between authority and power 184

Powering up a more engaged workforce 185

Engaging in Formal Decision-Making Methods 186

Using negotiation to make mutually acceptable decisions 186

Seeking consensus 187

Using Participatory Decision-Making Tools 189

The Gradients of Agreement tool 190

Dot voting to gauge opinion and progress 193

Visualizing consequences, relationships, and ideas: Mind mapping 196

Chapter 12: Strengthening Relationships with Employees and Customers 199

Improving Well-Being at Work 200

From happy employees to loyal customers: Creating a ripple effect 200

R.J. Allen Construction, an example 201

Recognizing the Consumer as a Change Agent 203

Keeping an eye out for trends 203

Chatting up consumers 204

Reconnecting Business to Customer Service 204

Bridging the gap to connect to your customers 205

Getting inside the customer’s head: Empathy mapping 206

Using social media to obtain feedback 208

Focusing on what’s important to the customer 209

Promoting Communication with Customers and Employees 210

Establishing intention and value 210

Calculating the benefits of communication 212

Setting goals for your interactions 213

Delving into Information-Gathering Methods 214

Tools and techniques for formal consultation 214

Establishing informal information-gathering channels 217

Part IV: Making Decisions in Various Roles 219

Chapter 13: Becoming a More Effective Decision-Maker 221

Upping Your Game: Transitioning from Area-Specific to Strategic Decisions 222

Highlighting strategic decisions 222

Avoiding the perils of micromanaging 225

Moving from specializing in one area to working across functions 228

Displaying Character through Decision-Making 230

Mirror, mirror, on the wall: Taking a close look at yourself 230

Using defining moments to build character 231

Handling yourself when things go wrong 232

Improving Your Decision-Making by Becoming a Better Leader 234

Differentiating between leadership and authority 234

Using your power for good 235

Being a leader good enough to ask the tough questions 235

Creating Safe and Stable Workplaces 236

Adapting your management style 237

Taking steps to improve the quality of the working environment 238

Being the leader you expect to see in others 240

Chapter 14: Making Decisions as a Manager 243

Recognizing the Changing Role of Manager 243

Embracing your role as change agent 244

Adapting your management style 246

Choosing Your Leadership and Management Styles 249

Looking at leadership styles 250

Using authority effectively: Different styles for different situations 251

Dealing with unmet expectations 253

Chapter 15: Making Decisions as an Entrepreneur or Small Business Owner 255

Knowing What Makes You Tick 256

Identifying your entrepreneurial qualities 256

Gaining clarity on your values and philosophical foundations 257

From Flying by the Seat of Your Pants to Putting Systems in Place 259

Moving from multitasking to building a team 260

Deciding how work gets done 261

Staying aware of your decision-making process 262

Taking Steps When the Thrill is Gone 264

Step 1: Figuring out what you want 264

Step 2: Ascertaining where your business is 265

Key questions when you still can’t decide 266

Part V: Applying Decision-Making Skills to Specific Challenges 267

Chapter 16: Using Change to Achieve Personal Fulfillment 269

Reinventing Yourself after a Setback 269

Changing your mindset after a setback 270

Taking the first steps to a new future 271

Gaining Clarity on Your Passion, Purpose, and Direction 272

Using a vision board to gain clarity 272

Testing your commitment to a decision: Visualization 275

Going my way? Choosing your path 275

Strengthening Your Resiliency 277

Assessing the state of your personal spirit 277

Viewing your whole life as a lesson in leadership 281

Chapter 17: Facilitating Participatory Decision-Making Meetings 283

Clarifying Your Role in a Meeting 283

Distinguishing among facilitating, moderating, and chairing 284

Letting go of attachment to a specific outcome 286

Meeting Preparation Basics 286

Establishing the purpose of the meeting 286

Identifying reasons to meet 287

Putting together a bare-bones plan 287

Choosing a formal or informal meeting structure 288

Putting Together a Meeting Plan for Complex or High-Stakes Decisions 289

Step 1: Stating the overall goal and metrics 289

Step 2: Putting together a framework for the meeting 290

March 25, 2015 5:26 PM

Step 3: Assigning tasks in preparation for the meeting 290

Step 4: Structuring the meeting with a meeting plan 291

Running a Productive Meeting 293

Getting on the same page with an overview 294

Keeping the meeting on track: Dealing with group dynamics 295

Tools to Help You Facilitate and Manage Meetings 299

Structured round table: A tool for gathering perspectives 300

Visual and group collaboration tools for meetings 300

Chapter 18: Making Decisions about Partnerships and Joint Ventures 305

Understanding the Different Partnership Structures 306

Looking at partnerships 306

Examining joint ventures 306

Determining Mutual Benefit 307

Thinking through partnership potential 308

Mapping out gains and value in joint ventures 309

Assessing the fit 312

Finalizing the Agreement 316

Communicating Productively during the Venture 317

Focusing on trust 317

Using conflict to advantage 319

Testing Trust, Courage, and Cooperation When the Going Gets Tough 320

Chapter 19: Setting Ethical Standards 321

Defining Business Ethics 321

Looking at ethics in business 322

Falling from grace: Unethical business practices 323

Understanding Pressures That Lead to Unethical Decisions 325

External pressures: The changing nature of business 326

Internal pressures: Working conditions and relationships 327

Eliminating conditions that lead to ethics breaches 328

Setting Formal and Informal Standards 330

Developing a formal code of ethics 330

Establishing an informal code 332

Common Concerns: Dealing with Supply Chains and Health and Safety 335

Reducing workplace hazards 336

Bringing the supply chain up to ethical standards 337

Part VI: The Part of Tens 339

Chapter 20: Ten Tips for Decision-Making in Uncertain Situations 341

Check Assumptions 341

Stretch Out of Your Comfort Zone 342

Ask Profound Questions 342

Learn from the Past 343

Listen Deeply 344

Shift Perspectives 344

Move From Inertia to Action 345

Pay Attention to What Your Heart Tells You 345

Embrace the Unpredictable 346

Work with Risk Differently 346

Chapter 21: Ten Ways to Improve Decision-Making 347

Find Your Inner Calm 347

Know When to Follow Plans and When to Co-create 348

Keep Your Mind Nimble 348

Focus on the Mission 349

Innovate through Disruption 349

Tap into Your Intuition 350

Learn from Mistakes 350

Keep an Open Mind 351

Balance the Intuitive with the Rational 351

Pay Attention to the Workplace 352

Chapter 22: Ten Secrets behind Ethical Decision-Making 353

Employees Feel Respected and Happy 353

Relationships Are Built on Trust 354

The Focus Is on Collective Achievement 354

The Right Things are Rewarded 355

Minimum Compliance Isn’t Enough 355

Good Character is Important 355

Everyone Leads 356

Principles and Values Guide Action 356

Attention Is Given to Workplace Culture 357

Trust Is the Underlying Value 357

Index 359