Define, Identify and Develop
Seven steps constitute the decision-making process that most managers use. The first three steps of that process are defining the problem, identifying any limiting factors and developing potential solutions to the problem. This means that first a problem must exist, be understood by the manager and it must be accurately defined in order to have any opportunity of being solved in the following six steps. Any limiting factors, such as the amount of time or money a manager has to implement a solution, must also be considered. After the first two steps, possible solutions and alternative solutions, should be considered and recorded so that all proposed solutions are given weight.
Analyze and Select
The next two steps in the decision-making process are analyzing the alternatives and selecting the best alternative. Once all the solutions that a manager and her employees can think of have been proposed and recorded, it's time to analyze the solutions for the most appropriate answer. This analysis should include the resources needed to accomplish the task as well as consideration for its long-term effects. Often times the best solutions just can't be implemented because of a lack of necessary resources. Once the analysis is completed, the solution deemed the best will be selected as the official response to the problem.
Implement and Control
The last two, and perhaps most visible, steps of the management decision-making process are implementing the decision and establishing a control and evaluation system. For the decision to be properly implemented, the manager must make sure that the solution is properly planned and that it is explained to all of the employees so that they all know their role in solving the problem at hand. Once the decision is implemented, a system needs to be put in place to evaluate that decision. If the solution works, then the process should be evaluated to make sure that future decisions are solved in a similar fashion. If the solution doesn't work, then a new alternative should be decided upon, starting over again and using the same, seven-step decision-making process.
Neal Litherland is an author, blogger and occasional ghostwriter. His experience includes comics, role playing games and a variety of other projects as well. He holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from Indiana University, and resides in Northwest Indiana.