Risk Management

The 8 Threats to Effective Decision-Making

Whether it’s the stress of poverty, poor memory, lack of sleep, or lack of consistency, research into decision-making behavior reveals many obstacles to effective individual decision-making. To stand apart from the average decision maker, Bruce Harpham offers eight principles at his Project Management Hacks blog.

1 – Haste Makes Waste

Acting too quickly puts a damper on decision-making. It ensures that details will be missed and wrong turns taken. If you’re the impulsive type of PM, make sure you’ve got a full regimen of systems and processes in place.

2 & 3 – Balancing Risk and Information

A “no risk ever” mentality will also get you into trouble. In cases where avoiding risk is a big blow to potential gains, it pays to always weigh the benefits of a particular decision against its downsides.

Along with considering all sides of a decision, you’ll want to gather pertinent information before moving forward—not too much information, mind you, just enough to support or refute your preconceptions.

4 & 5 – Loners and Group Decisions

One big decision-making faux pas is to call the shots in isolation. Sharing the decision with others ensures that it will survive to be implemented and realized in its full form. It also helps to include others when faced with particularly challenging decisions to avoid a copycat mentality. In other words, it might be tempting to simply copy what’s already worked well for other companies. Instead, consider how your team can best overcome the challenge, laying out a host of potential options before choosing.

6 & 7 – Selective Delegation and the Halo Effect

Yet beware of the ‘Halo Effect’ when involving team members. The halo refers to the way a person’s skills or reputation (software engineering, perhaps) may blind us to their lack of knowledge in other areas (say, marketing). Instead, selectively allow others to make some of the decisions. Actively making decisions is a great way to grow as a professional, a thing to be shared with your entire team.

8 – Follow Up

Lastly, always follow up on outcomes (this is a recommendation straight from management guru Peter Drucker).  It’s one decision you won’t regret.

Read the original article at: http://projectmanagementhacks.com/the-8-threats-to-effective-decision-making/#sthash.uJfm9OEZ.3O6IJthP.dpbs

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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