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Decision Making in Business

Charlotte Ashlock Posted by Charlotte Ashlock, Executive Editor, Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.

Charlotte Ashlock is a crazy idealist trying to make the world a better place! 

Decision Making in Business

Decision making is one of the most crucial steps in life - at home and at work. A house and a business run successfully on judicious decisions. Taking the right decision is never easy. It is even more difficult to take the right decision all by oneself. In businesses, decision making should be collaborative in nature. Collaborative, consensus or group decision making has always helped businesses earn success. Adversarial decision-making, on the other hand, has often been an individual’s decision, one that has been conveyed to others, rather than one that has involved others in the process.

Most successful CEOs will acknowledge that they were not alone at the helm of affairs when it came to strategic decision making. Alan Hall, founder and CEO of a global business, writes in Deseret News , "a CEO always benefits from listening to a team of advisors at all stages of a growing business."

Strategies for good decision making include relying on evidence, logic and experimentation instead of on gut instincts; gauging pros and cons, short and long term balance and support; scheduling time for second guessing; relying on others to improve one’s judgment; and avoiding (if possible) status quo and anchorage on the first information received.

Books on decision making:

How To Make Collaboration Work

David Straus tells his readers what the book aims to achieve with his simple title. In this book, Straus describes five time-tested principles for making collaborative efforts more effective and joyful. He also cites examples from non-profit organizations and Fortune 500 companies to show how to make collaboration work.

Collaborating with everyone without hurting minds and hearts is more challenging than making the decision itself. Straus has developed the field of group problem solving from his founding the Interaction Associates in 1969. This company is a recognized leader in group process facilitation, organizational development, and consulting. In this book, he introduces his readers to five principles that have been successful in all conceivable settings. These life-changing principles include involving the relevant stakeholders, building consensus phase by phase, designing a process map, designating a process facilitator, and harnessing the power of group memory.

Readers will walk away from this book feeling good and confident about collaborative decision making. It is a perfect companion for those who find collaborating at work daunting.

Consensus through Conversation

In this book, Larry Dressler discusses consensus, a cooperative process in which all members agree and actively support a decision. The process of consensus in a decision is crucial to the ultimate success of an organization. It is much more than mere acquiescence; it transforms resigned team members to dedicated champions of an idea.

Consensus through Conversation gives its readers the tools required to use consensus effectively in an organization. Consensus is integral to all quality decisions made in an organization. this book is a perfect guide for people who want more consensus in their organizations to make good decisions. The author takes the readers, step-by-step, through the consensus-building process, while alerting all along the way, to avoid common traps. This book is a keeper for those who need a little handholding to understand the utility of consensus in decision-making.

Making the Grades

Todd Farley writes about the decisions he had to take as a scorer in the standardized testing industry. As a fifteen year veteran, Farley exposes the futility of his role as a scorer. In this amusing tale, he writes how he took decisions about students’ futures without looking at their test answers, a practice that is leaving our future at the mercy of rubrics that may bear no relation to a student’s talent.

Why Decisions Fail

Paul C. Nutt’s book is for managers to master the art of decision-making. He uses fifteen monumental decision-making disasters to expose the flaws present in common tactical decisions. Then he provides successful alternative decision making strategies that could easily steer businesses to a successful path.

In Why Decisions Fail , Nutt speaks to managers who make decisions, to understand what they confront at work, every day. The doubts, the uncertainties, the risks and the conviction they face and exhibit at the workplace make them who they are. The author also shows how to avoid common blunders that are perfect recipes for disaster. In this book, the author analyzes 400 decisions taken by managers in various industries, that have failed and discusses the fifteen he considers more disastrous than the others. This book is a must-read for managers who want to improve their decision-making skills.