Decision Making Alternatives

Alternatives x2

When you consider decision making alternatives there are two aspects to bear in mind.

The alternatives available in terms of which decision making models you use, and within the decision making process the alternatives you are choosing between.

Let's deal with the second one first.

More choice

Remember that decision making is about choosing between alternatives, and the options you are choosing from will determine the direction that you begin to move in.

Now the decision making alternatives you're working with will arise because of the questions you ask. In other words, how you phrase the decision that you want to make.

So how you set up the decision making process, the question you want answered, will determine the decision making alternatives that you consider.

Experience counts

Another factor here is the experience that you already have. The more experience you have, the more patterns you are able to notice.

Just think about watching a sport you know little about. The players may seem to be doing things at random and you might think that things are a bit chaotic! For an expert in the game however, they will pick up on a lot of nuances and subtle patterns that you won't even know exist. The more experienced they are, the more patterns they will notice.

And of course the more patterns they notice, the more alternatives they are able to generate. And it's similar in making a decision. As people develop wisdom, knowledge and skills through experience, the number of patterns they can perceive increases, which increases their decision making alternatives.

Inwards or outwards

Now it is possible to increase your knowledge to improve your decision making skills. But it is still no substitute for experience. In fact, many people fall into the trap of thinking they never have enough knowledge. They go on an endless quest, all the time looking outwards for more, while ignoring their own internal wisdom and experience.

And there is still a lot to be said for 'apprenticeship' as a way to build skill and develop experience.


Choice of models

The decision making alternatives in terms of models fall into two broad categories. Rational models have to do with listing the pros and cons of the alternatives, and using reason and logic to work out the ultimate solution.

Intuitive models do not resort to rationale or reasoning, but some alternative method is used to gather information and decide. There are many ways to do this and many types of intuitive model.

Naturalistic decision making

The recognition primed decision model could be said to be a combination of the above two methods. A lot of research has been done here and it shows that we may make up to 95% of our decisions in this way.


Even more...!

A further refinement of the recognition primed model, where you learn your own personal signals for good and bad decisions, is the decision making model put forward here...

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