Decision Making Exercises
Green Light Thinking
One of the best decision making exercises I know of is called " Green Light Thinking " which if used correctly will involve everyone in defining the problem and possible solutions. It will allow everyone to think freely while offering any and all ideas!
Imagine a process that truly gets people talking and offering solutions that ultimately work!
I was very fortunate to have learned this process several years ago and I still use it today to flush out the problem, and possible solutions to that problem.
It is easy and can be extremely fun!
In order to implement this decision making exercise, AKA " Green Light Thinking " you must first call together anyone that has something to do with the process you are trying to fix. In some cases it is good to have someone that is not associated with the problem provided they have knowledge of the problem!
Get as many critical players together!
So if you are in the hotel business and you have a problem in catering, you would get as many of the critical players together that have anything to do with catering.
I am also a strong believer in having the leader of the group someone that is not directly involved with the problem, but does have knowledge of it and has very good leadership skills. Someone that can control the direction of the discussions.
This is a decision making tip that I was able to implement early in my career.
The purpose of having someone not directly involved with the problem in charge of the exercise is so that they do not have a dog in the fight, i.e., not biased.
It is also important for someone to clearly define the current process and problems that are arising from it. It is important that everyone knows why they are there.
Sometimes having an outside party as a member of the group will ask more questions and will force everyone to clearly understand the process and problem.
So the first step in this exercise, AKA " Green Light Thinking " is defining the problem. Although you may want to set a time limit on this, it is important to allow enough time to clearly let everyone have input.
Grandma - Why do you cut off the end of the ham?
In this decision making exercise the leader of the group must be good and asking questions. You must continue to ask why we do it this way enough to get to the root causes.
Here is a Prime Example of the importance of asking enough questions to get to the Root Cause.
A young daughter was watching her mother prepare a large ham for dinner at a family gathering one time. As she was watching her mother, her mother cut off a pretty large piece of the end of the ham and tossed it aside.
The daughter asked her mother why she did this. Her mother proudly said that she wasn't sure but she learned this from her mother. She went on to say if it was good enough for my mother it is good enough for me since my mother was a great cook.
So the daughter went to her grandmother and asked her why she cut off the end of the ham. Her grandmother proudly said that she learned this from her mother and with the same confidence she said if it was good enough for my mother it was good enough for me. My mother was the best cook ever.
Ask questions until you have flushed out the real problem!
So the daughter went to her great grandmother and asked her why she cut off the end of the ham. Her great grandmother began to laugh and said oh honey I had to cut off the end of the ham because it would never fit into our little ovens back then.
So, again I state! Ask enough questions and you may find out something that is very interesting.
So when you have flushed out enough of the process and why it is broken it is time to move on to the next phase of the decision making exercise.
When conducting exercises like this one make sure you appoint someone to start recording the responses that will be given for the next phase onto a flip chart or white board. Have them leave enough space in between each response for additional responses later.
Then explain that you are going to solicit possible solutions to the problem at hand. That there are no wrong answers and no one should laugh or criticize any possible solution. This is sometimes referred to as Green Light Thinking. A quick decision making tip for you is to make sure your leader is capable of shutting down any forceful individuals in the group that may be over bearing and intimidate others. This will kill the Green Light Thinking process. This individual must have good leadership skills.
So now that you have recorded all the possible solutions from everyone it will be time to move to the next phase of the decision making exercise. But before you do make sure you have flushed out everyone's thoughts. If your list is only ten or so, keep working it. The more the better.
The group leader should be using good leadership skills to encourage more responses. Maybe ask a lot of what if questions to the group. Maybe even come up with some real crazy solutions to get people thinking outside the box.
Once you feel you have all the answers possible, then you are going to ask everyone to make three choices to what they think are the best possible solutions to the problem.
This means that everyone will go up and put one mark by at least three different solutions that were presented. Once everyone has done this you will tally up which solutions received the top three votes.
This exercise should give you at least three valid possible solutions to the problem. The great part about this and a decision making tip for you is that since everyone participated and got a chance to offer solutions you most likely will have buy in. The thing that seals the deal is the majority of the people that participated felt the solutions you are going with are the right solutions.
Remember everyone voted for them.
If the leader of the group demonstrated good leadership skills, you will have buy in and the best solution to your problem.
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
A Guide To Business Leadership And Decision Making
Decision-making is an essential component of leadership. Business leaders today are faced with countless tough decisions that need to be made every day. And every decision taken has serious ramifications.
If you need help enhancing your decision-making skills, follow these strategies:
Perform an analysis
Conduct a situation analysis. Why do you need to make the decision? Who will it affect? What would happen if it’s not made?
Assess the tools, i.e. data, supporting information and research you have for arriving at a decision.
Set emotions aside
Leaders have to make tough decisions all the time. Some of your decisions may not please your team. But, you have not much of a choice if that’s what the company requires.
Clear your head and take the decision. Focus on the bigger picture. Try to understand that you can’t please everyone, all the time.
Take time to make the decision, especially if it’s a big one. Give yourself enough time to process the information you have. That being said, don’t take too much of everyone’s time. Once you have enough facts, get it done and over with.
Not everyone will absorb your decision easily. Some people would need more time to process it. Explain the decision to them. Be specific and open.
If you’re on the fence about a decision, compare the potential risks with rewards. A risk-reward ratio is a solid technique to determine the success or failure of a decision.
Determine if it’s the right thing to do
Do you believe in your decision? Do you stand behind it? Assess whether it’s something that requires you to compromise your personal values, integrity or character.
Trust your gut
Listen to your instincts. It’s much stronger that you may realize. Alongside analytics, check what your gut says.
Have a back up
Always have a plan B. Sometimes things may not run in your favor. What do you do then? Thus, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan.
Make the decision
Last, but not last, make the decision, no matter how uncertain or difficult it may seem. You will never know its success or failure unless you actually run with it.
Decision Making Traps
One of the decision making traps a lot of leaders will fall into is when they think they know what the outcome will be before doing the analysis.
Don't make that mistake because it could cost you your reputation and/or significant dollars.
Take the time to go through the decision making process, which in most cases means some type of research. Don't assume anything.
I know many years ago our company was trying to decide whether to switch over to a new product. In our case it was as simple as paper towels.
Keep in mind though we had several facilities so we went through a lot of paper towels each month. Any savings, even if it was a small one on each case we purchased, could translate into a large sum of money.
Currently we were using a very nice absorbent paper towel that cost more than the towel we were considering switching over to.
Studied a four week period...
We made a decision to do a very controlled study of both types of towels over a very specific time frame. The time frame would be a four week period in a large area of the facility where the employee population was fairly constant and could be measured.
We first tracked very specifically the number of current paper towels we placed into service in that area over the four week period. We kept very good track of the employee population by recognizing in numbers only the individuals on vacation and/or sick leave so that we knew how many individuals had utilized the facilities over the controlled time frame.
After we felt comfortable that we kept very good track of the number of paper towels and how many employees had been in the area with an opportunity to utilize the towels, we recorded those numbers.
We changed completely over to the new towel which was considerably less expensive. We did the same exact study and recorded those numbers.
I was absolutely positive we would determine that the less expensive towel would surely end up saving us thousands of dollars over the course of a year.
Showed that significantly more of...
Well it was a good thing we did the study because as we did our analysis it showed that significantly more of the less expensive towels were used. They were less absorbent which caused people to have to use more. Once they got into the habit of pulling more out automatically, it really didn't matter if they needed them or not. We also determined that they tore much easier so there ended up being more debris on the floor around the waste containers, which was a turn off to our employees. Finally, we also determined that because more towels were used it caused us to have to use more waste liners and increased our waste removal costs. We did not measure this in exact amounts since the cost of just the towels showed that we should stay with our original choice of what we thought was the more expensive towel.
So don't fall into the decision making traps of not doing your research. I'm glad I didn't allow them to just make the change without doing the study first.
Thanks and May God Bless You!
Decision Making Tips
I have tried to provide some decision making tips that will be useful for you. Suppose you and your family were trying to decide where to take your next vacation.
You have a budget of $5,000. Your family consists of you, your spouse, and your two children, ages 14 and 16. You will have two full weeks available to go. The only restriction is that two of your family members do not like to fly.
So how in the world do you decide where you will go?
If we apply the autocratic method of decision making it makes it easier, but the chances of making everyone happy are greatly reduced.
If you apply the consultation method, assuming you and your spouse make the decision together, at least two of your family members will be happy.
If you apply the group method it increases the chances of making the majority happy, or hopefully everyone.
Apply Two Methods of Decision Making!
So what method would you use? Does this require an additional decision to decide what decision making method to use? Ha! Ha!
Depending on how mature your children are I would try to include them in the decision. This may require limiting the amount of choices.
So my suggestion would be to apply two methods.
First I would get with my spouse and we would decide on some different options. No more than three or four that would meet all of your requirements of money, time and type of travel.
Once that has been decided you would then include your two children in the decision making process.
Highlight the Negatives and/or the Positives!
You would introduce the choices and then begin the discussion of who wants to go where and why.
Everyone would have a chance to give their input. During this process your hope is that at least one or two of the choices are removed. As the facilitator's you and your spouse should guide the discussion down a path of doing just that.
One way would be to highlight the negatives and/or the positives of the different locations. As an example you may say something like, "If we go to this place we will only be able to do this. However, if we go to the other location we can do this and that!"
Or prior to beginning the discussion you could set the ground rules to say that the location with the most positives will be the location we all will agree to go. Then someone keep track of the positives of each location. One or two will rise to the top and the others will fall off.
If your family does not get along well this has some risk involved, and you may want to go to the old fashion autocratic method of I decide, and that's that!
Again, the tip is that you may have to adjust some of the normal rules of decision making to accomplish the best outcome.
In the above case it is applying two methods.
This can be applied to a business setting also where management limits the choices for something and then applies the group method to pick the best of those choices. This will always help in the decision making process.
One thing I have learned over the years is that you may think you know what the outcome will be but after you analyze the facts you see it entirely differently. Point is, go through the process.
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
Decision Making Steps
Following Decision Making Steps in most cases will be a huge advantage to arriving at the right decision. Now certainly there are times that we just need to follow your gut and make a decision based on what is presented at the time. However, this in most cases will not work out perfectly, unless we are talking about placing our foot on the brake immediately when a ball bounces in front of your car! Sometimes we just need to act!
The best way I have come to important decisions is to prioritize my needs and wants. Consider it a series of decisions, instead of just one major one!
Maybe it's something as simple as buying a new car!
If we were going to utilized a Decision Making Process in order to help us decide whether we should buy a new car we may lay it out like this;
Overall cost of the car
Type of car
Impact on additional expenses like fuel, insurance, repairs, etc.
Do I like the car - If married do you both like the car
Will the car meet my immediate needs
Will the car meet my potential needs
So this example will help us get started on the Decision Making Steps that will get us to our final decision. Keep in mind that the final decision may come at any step along the way. For instance if the price of the car is too much, no need to keep pursuing the other decisions. Same could be said for any of the other decision points along the way.
So if the price meets our allowed expenses, then of course the next question is are we looking for a pickup truck or family car? If we are looking for a pickup truck, do we need it for practical reasons or do we just like pickup trucks because we look cool in them? In the above example we may make it through the entire list of decision points and still decide not to go forward. If this is the case then your list of priorities are not really a good reflection on what you were looking for in the first place. Therefore, it is very important that you honestly reflect your desires up front. and then stick to it. It may boil down to the color of the car if you have made that a priority.
Decision Making Steps are there to get you to where you need to go. Use them and you will be a lot happier in the end.
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
Decision Making Software
Wouldn't it be nice to have a decision making software to help with those tough decisions we continually face in everyday life and in business. Decision like should I move or not? Should I take that new job across the country? Should we expand our business? Guess what? In today's world they have many decision software programs that can help with those types of decisions.
When it comes to decision making software programs the types of decisions that they can help with have to me more complicated than just yes or no. Most decisions are more complicated than simply yes or no. Just as the example of whether you should take that new job or not! Certainly a yes or no is ultimately the answer that you must give, but some factors should be involved in the decision first. Such as, can you sell your house or will they buy it from you? If they won't buy it and you have to sell it, can you get more than what you owe? How much will it cost to move? What about your children? What is the cost of living in the new location? You can see there are many questions that require answers first.
There are questions that demand an answer!
A good decision making software program can help navigate you through the maze of decisions that you must ask yourself first. Most will not answer those questions for you, but simply make you answer them. No, there is no magical program that can know everything about everything to spit out a response. However, there are questions that demand an answer if you really want to make the right decision before going forward.
Trying to decide whether you should expand your business or not requires more than a gut feeling! Decision making software can help you sort through the tough questions that require answers, such as, who's your customer, what are your new expenses, will you have to increase staffing, will it affect your quality, will you receive any tax benefits or penalties, etc. These are just some of the questions you will want answered before moving forward with an expansion.
Don't fall into that trap!
I guess if you really needed a fast and simple way to make a decision you could resort back to the old fashion decision making software procedure. During football season they do this prior to ever beginning the game. They ask individuals from both sides to get together to make one of the toughest decisions in the game. The process is called the coin toss! Of course this would be a foolish way to make your important decisions, but you would be surprised how many people still go about their lives this way. You might as well do, rock, paper, scissors!
So no matter what process you use make sure the decision software that you choose forces you to go through the process! Sometimes it's good to have someone not directly connected to the outcome to help you sort out the process. Most of us already want to arrive at a certain answer before getting started and this can influence the outcome, so don't fall into that trap. Try to be as objective as possible while you sort through the process. You will be happy that you did.
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
Decision Making Process
Having a better understanding of the Decision Making Process will hopefully help you arrive at better decisions. My assumption is that you arrived at this article on Decision Making because you have an important decision to make or you are doing research to help your organization move into the future. In either case there are good ways and bad ways to arrive at decisions.
In this article I hope to lead you in the right direction! The Decision Making Process begins with understanding your end goal in mind. For instance if you were trying to decide whether to take a promotion or not, you need to first understand if that promotion is going to get you to your end goal. Your end goal may be simply to make as much money as possible in as short a time as possible. Or it could be more complex (I hope this would be the case) and you have prepared a career Management Plan outlining your desired career Goals. In either case you understand your end goal.
Let's explore the above example for the purposes of this discussion of the Process. So you are offered a promotion and it requires you to relocate to another city. If you were single the Decision Making Choices would be simplified by only having to consider your own needs. However, if you are married you must (or at least should if you want your marriage to last) consider the needs of your spouse and children, if any. In this case you are married and have one school aged child.
Will the promotion include relocation expenses? If so, how much are they and will it cover all your needs. Depending on the answer to this you may have already arrived at your decision to not take the promotion. If you own a home will you be able to sell your home for at least what it is worth? Again, the answer may complete the Decision Making Process.
If the new city is known for good or bad schools, this may complete your Decision Making Process!
So as you can see I am setting up decision points along the way to help you make your final decision. So to simplify this more let's take all the decision points and place them in order of priority. So as an example, and your priorities most likely will differ from this example, let's say your priorities are;
Will the promotion help me achieve my Career Management Plan goals?
Will the Salary offered meet my needs?
Is the City the new position is in one that offers me and my family what it needs?
Will the Company pay relocation costs?
What will we be leaving behind from the perspective of school sports, school activities, spouses employment, etc.
This should just get you started. But as you can see you will go through a Decision Making Process that will help you arrive at a final decision that hopefully meets all your goals. Sometimes those goals mean you stay put where you are!
Good Luck and May God Bless You!
Decision Making Process Software
Are you considering decision making process software? I guess that means you're faced with your first decision.
Don't make it complicated is the first piece of advice I can offer you!
Making decisions boils down to some pretty basic principles when you really think about it. Is the decision helping, hurting, or neutral to whatever is involved?
Of course the process can be either autocratic, consulting, or a group process. I discuss these further on another website page of mine.
Any decision making software should be able to guide you through so that you make the decision best for your specific situation. That does not always mean immediate satisfaction. Such as what type of diet should I go on? The immediate and best answer may be hard to hear, but is the right one.
Maybe you're trying to decide to implement a new product line into your retail shop.
There are many considerations to consider, and let's name a few.
What is the profit margin?
How long is the shelf life?
Who is the supplier?
What is the current market for the product in your geographic area, i.e., just because snow sleds sell well in North Dakota does not mean they will sell well in Florida.
What is the current economy in your geographical area doing presently?
Who is your current customer? How old are they, how much do they spend on average, etc.
You can see there is a lot to consider other than it sounds like a good idea.
Decision making software should help you out in making the best decision for your specific situation.
Don't short change yourself in trying to make some of these decisions on the seat of your pants that may end up costing you thousands later.
Thank you and May God Bless You!
Using If and Then Statements for Decision Making Exercises
A great decision making exercise is one where you develop a flow chart that keeps asking/answering the question IF - THEN.
In other words IF this - THEN that!
Most people want to develop decision making exercises to answer complex questions. That's great but we need to break the question down into smaller bite size questions.
The key is to make sure you continually ask YES and NO questions only.
This does not work for every type of decision but for most.
Computer programmers use this type of questioning in almost all their computer programs.
As an example all computers ultimately work off machine language which is basically either 1 or 0, i.e., the switch is either on or off. Obviously it is a little more complicated that this, but yes it is a series of yes or no questions/answers.
If our business expands will we need more space? Yes or No
IF yes THEN
IF no THEN
If our business expands do we need to hire more employees? Yes or No
IF yes THEN
IF no THEN
Keep following this through until you reach an answer to expand or not.
This is a great decision making exercise.
Thank you and May God Bless You!
Thank you for reviewing this article on Decision Making Exercises - Return to the Home Page.