We all make decisions of varying importance in the workplace every day, so the idea that decision making can be a rather sophisticated process may at first seem strange. However, studies have shown that a large percentage of people are much poorer at decision making than they think. An understanding of what decision making involves, together with an effective techniques, will help produce better decisions. Decision making is the study of identifying and choosing alternatives based on the values and preferences of the decision maker (Harris, 1998). Making a decision implies that there are alternative choices to be considered, and in such a case we want not only to identify as many of these alternatives as possible but to choose the one that best fits with our goals, desires, lifestyle, values, and so on. To do this I will utilize Rick Robert’s 7 Step Decision Making Model and apply it to a recent work-related decision. I will also describe how critical thinking impacted this decision.
The 7 Step Decision MakingModel by Rick Roberts has, you guessed it, seven different steps. The first step is to identify the decision to be made. Under this step, one will also have to determine whether you are making a choice between two or more options. The next step is to understand yourself. What skills, interests, values, and personality do you have? The third step is to identify the options. What are the current options and are there others available. Step four is to gather information and data.
Take a look at existing resources and identify additional information and resources that may be needed. Step five is to evaluate the options. List the pro’s and con’s of each alternative. Identify the value and needs that are met by each. Recognize any risks, present and future, involved with each alternative. The next step, step six, is to select one of the options. If you don’t have enough information to select one of the decisions, then review or revise one of the above steps. The final step is to design a course of action to implement the decision.
This 7 Step Decision-Making Model helped me with a recent decision that needed to be made at my job. I was offered a lateral promotion, which would require me to move from one location to another. I used the different steps to determine whether I should accept the position. First I identified the decision that needed to be made and that I had two choices, whether I should accept this new position or not. Next I evaluated myself. Did I possess the skills to perform this new job? Did the position fit with my personality? The third step determined my options, which were to accept the position or pass on the offer. My next step was to gather all the information on the new position. I researched the job responsibilities, spoke with other employees who were performing the same job, and toured the new location that I would be working at.
Next I evaluated the pros and cons of my decision. The pros were that I would be interacting with a new customer base, expanding my capabilities as an employee and making myself more marketable for a future promotion, the new environment was less stressful, and I would be able to interact with other departments more. The cons of my new position would be that I would have a longer distance to travel to work, I would be unfamiliar with my new responsibilities and would be learning from scratch, and finally I would be moving into a smaller office. Next I moved on to step six and selected one of my options and decided to accept the position that was being offered. I then followed step seven by arranging a meeting with my supervisor and director to advise them of my choice.
Critical thinking was very important in making this decision, since I needed to make a decision based on the benefits of my choice rather than letting emotions guide me. Critical thinking is deciding rationally what to or what not to believe (Norris, 1985). Rick Robert’s 7 Step Model helped insure that I looked at my choices from different angles and removed the factors that would not have effectively influenced me.
Decisions can be much more complex than they appear. Since our everyday lives and success is dependant on our ability to effectively identify and execute these decisions, it is essential that we find a method to this. I hope that Rick Robert’s 7 Step Decision-Making Model has given you a tool to perfect this process.