Unclear Decisions

What are they?

Unclear decisions give rise to a situation where future actions are unknown or ambiguous. These decisions are usually unmade decisions. They can arise for a number of reasons.

  • The desired result is not specific enough.
  • There is insufficient information available. Perhaps you consider that none of the options will actually achieve the outcome.
  • There is too much information present, leading to overwhelm and inactivity
  • The decision making process being used is not specified, or is worthless.
  • The decision maker themselves have no foundation in place for deciding.

Spotting unclear decisions

You know you are witnessing decisions that are unclear when
  • The goalposts keep moving.
  • No conclusion can be reached.
  • The decision is considered to be made when it obviously is not.
  • Even when the decision is supposedly made, no-one is sure what they should do next.
  • Different people understand the decision in different ways.


Making the unclear clear

Here are some tips on what to do when you are dealing with such decisions.
  • First, make sure you are in a good state for making decisions!
  • Clearly define the required outcome so that you, or everyone involved, is sure what it is.
  • Be clear about the decision making model you are using.
  • If the amount of information is overwhelming, choose what is relevant and what is not.
  • Recognize whether the decision is actually made or not.
  • Understand whether the decision has to be made now or can wait until later.


Of course, the best cure is prevention. The aim is to avoid making unclear decisions altogether!

There are other important and useful ideas on excellent decision making in the section on decision making tips and decision making skills.

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