It's the process of selecting from several choices, products or ideas, and then taking action in relation to this choice in order to bring about a desired result.
Read more about the definition of decision making for more details.
The following stages are necessary for good decision making.
Unfortunately, most of the lessons on decision making are spent on generating alternatives and information gathering. It would save a lot of time and energy if more attention was spent on the very first stage, that of clearly establishing the current situation and what the decision is required to accomplish.
There is more information in the section on stages in decision making.
There are many different ways to make decisions. There are 5,6,7, 9 and even 10 step processes available. Most of the current lessons in decision making discuss in depth the analysis of options, weighing up the pros and cons of each to arrive at the best choice. These models are rational decision making strategies and involve a lot of reasoning and thinking to make a decision.
The opposite of this are the intuitive models and there are ever growing numbers of people offering lessons on decision making using this approach. Obviously much attention in placed on developing your 'intuition' and using it to make choices.
There are also other models available, such as recognition primed decision making, as well as models which have been adapted for the use of groups.
Lessons in decision making models for groups typically take into account whether the leader is making the decision and takes input from the group, or whether the group makes the decision and the leader has more of a facilitator role, as in the Vroom-Jago model.
Lessons on decision making also include descriptions of the style or characteristics of decision makers. A huge range of styles have been described, including, impulsive, procrastinating, flexible, compliant, play it safe, and so on. These are fairly self explanatory.
There are also styles described for leadership type situations. Lessons on decision making will include when to get input from the group, how much input the group should have, who is responsible for the decision and it's consequences, and other such factors.
Lessons on decision making would not be complete without mentioning evaluating a decision. Once you take action after making a decision, it's important to assess whether or not the action has achieved, or is achieving, the desired outcome. If it is, well and good. If it's not, then readjusting at some level is required.
Either a new decision has to be made, or the old one updated, or some new action undertaken. Either way, keeping your focus on the outcome, rather than how it's achieved, is more likely to prove fruitful.
Difficulty deciding with so much information that is often contradictory?
The steps to success - with unmatched proof!