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Important Steps in the Decision Making Process

Important Steps in the Decision Making Process

When you’re faced with a decision, it’s important to take your time and think through the process. Whether you’re making decisions for yourself or your team, following these steps can help you reach the best solution possible.

The first step is to identify the problem. This includes thoroughly researching the issue and asking open-ended questions to get a better understanding of it.

1. Identifying the Decision

When making a decision, it is important to clearly identify the specific decision that needs to be made. This step will help to determine the type of information that is needed and the possible alternatives.

It is also important to review the results of the decision and how it will impact others. This can be a time consuming process but it is crucial in order to make the best decision possible. Once the decision is made it is then necessary to convert that decision into effective action. This is one of the most difficult steps in the decision making process. However, a successful decision will lead to the desired outcome of the situation.

2. Gathering Information

During this stage, decision makers gather information about possible solutions to the problem. They also try to understand the consequences of each option.

They may also try to determine which pieces of information are necessary in order to make a high quality decision. The goal is to achieve a balance between the amount of information gathering and cost efficiency.

When examining the alternatives, it is important to brainstorm as many possibilities as possible. However, it is also essential to take a reality check and ensure that each alternative has the potential to work in light of all the uncertainties. This is where the decision making process becomes more difficult.

3. Identifying Alternatives

Once the decision making team has gathered relevant information, they can begin to identify potential alternatives. This step can involve brainstorming and using imagination to create a wide range of solutions. Some of these ideas may seem zany or offbeat at first, but they can often contain the germ of a great solution.

Identifying alternative resolutions to the problem involves balancing numerous, often incommensurable, criteria. Regulatory alternative analysis (AA) frameworks, such as multi-criteria mapping and stochastic multi-criteria acceptability analysis, use different metrics for diverse attributes to facilitate structured evaluation by ultimate decision makers. These methodologies include sensitivity analyses to account for uncertainty. Consequently, they can require a substantial investment of time and resources.

4. Choosing the Alternative

After all the information has been gathered and evaluated, the next step is to choose an alternative. This can be a tricky step because it involves selecting the solution that will produce the desired outcome with the fewest possible disadvantages.

The decision-maker needs to select an option that is acceptable to those who will implement the decision and to those who will be affected by it. Depending on the scope of the alternative, this may involve a thorough analysis of potential risks and costs.

Choosing the best alternative can require a combination of managerial, communication, and administrative skills. It also requires commitment and a willingness to see the decision through, even when it becomes difficult.

5. Implementing the Alternative

Implementing a decision requires managerial, communication, and administrative skills to ensure that the chosen alternative is carried out. The implementation process should include a plan to address potential unintended consequences of the substitution (such as changes in worker exposure pathways or new hazards).

Effective decision makers evaluate their decisions by gathering information about how they were implemented. This enables them to determine whether the decision was successful in solving the problem or moving the organization closer to its goals. It also helps them understand where the decision failed and how to avoid similar mistakes in future. Ideally, this evaluation should include feedback. Using this feedback to continuously improve the decision will enhance its effectiveness.

6. Evaluating the Alternative

Using the information collected during the Frame step, it is time to identify and/or create decision alternatives. The goal in this step is to create solutions that are capable of meeting the success criteria outlined during decision framing.

Often, there are many possible solutions and evaluating them can be difficult. This step requires the use of set criteria to help eliminate options quickly.


Often, the most effective approach is to combine different solutions that have minor differences. This helps reduce the amount of analysis that must be done in the Decide step. For example, combining solutions that meet the same criteria in one category (such as cost) can reduce evaluation time.