12 Decision-Making Strategies

The seven-step strategy is:
  • Investigate the situation in detail.
  • Create a constructive environment.
  • Generate good alternatives.
  • Explore your options.
  • Select the best solution.
  • Evaluate your plan.
  • Communicate your decision, and take action.

You should keep in mind that you are a leader first and foremost before you are a business leader. Things are normally very simple if you have to decide for yourself. When considering potential solutions to a problem, having internal discussions with oneself isn’t nearly as challenging as having similar discussions with another person because you know yourself well enough to know what works for you and what doesn’t.

When you’re attempting to guide your friends across a river is a good illustration of this. Since you’ve likely crossed many rivers before, if you were doing it alone, this wouldn’t be particularly challenging. However, you have never dealt with a problem like this with your friends before, and the truth is that you are unsure of how to decide when you must also act as a leader.

After some time, you overhear one of your friends ecstatically proclaiming that they have discovered a log and suggesting that everyone should cross over on the log. You now have to decide between what at the moment seems to be the quickest and easiest course of action and the danger posed by a log that loses balance and throws your entire group into the river. You and your friends gather together and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of all your options, including turning around and returning, fording the river, adopting the log idea, and simply continuing your search until you find a better solution.

Most likely, as you move through this process, you will use a variety of decision-making techniques. These are the methods by which we make decisions based on the information at our disposal, whether it’s how to choose an elective for the upcoming semester, cross a river, or advance our businesses.

Most people learn by trial and error when making choices, drawing on both positive and negative experiences to determine the best course of action. You need to have decision-making strategies for both the familiar and the unfamiliar, though, because what if you’re seeing a novel situation that isn’t at all like what you’ve dealt with before?

When you have access to all the information necessary for the situation at hand, use this approach. It is methodical and involves a carefully planned out series of steps to reach a conclusion. You rely on information that is observable and objective. It is a very appealing strategy because it divides a difficult choice into a number of smaller, interlocking parts.

Take the situation when you’re driving. When two red lights appear approximately a car’s width in front of you, you automatically apply the brakes. You didn’t spend a lot of time considering whether those were actually car brake lights and what they indicated. Knowing that such red lights are typically car brake lights from prior experience helps you remember how to react.

Although heuristics don’t always work, we can generally rely on them because they do so frequently. When you are confident in their accuracy and have the appropriate heuristics for the situation, you should use them. There also shouldn’t be very great consequences for being wrong.

Your knowledge and proficiency in a subject area are required for this type of decision-making. When you have sufficient knowledge and experience, most of your decisions will be intuitive. Even if the information doesn’t seem to match up in the eyes of others, you recognize it and put it together without giving it much thought.

It’s difficult to teach because most decisions are made subconsciously, especially when what an expert considers to be simple will be considered to be quite difficult by others. Additionally, there is a propensity for people to believe that just because they are knowledgeable in one field, they are also knowledgeable in other fields.

Consider the following scenario: You must divide your workforce into teams, but you are aware that people may find it difficult to choose their team due to interpersonal dynamics. Making decisions at random can be a good way to form teams without having to deal with the subsequent interpersonal dynamics.

Think about how you got there the next time you need to make a decision, whether it be for your personal or professional life. When you understand not just the decision you made but how you made it as well, you become a better decision maker, for your personal life as well as your business.

Decision-Making Strategies

Who uses decision-making strategies?

Business professionals in every industry make decisions. Although anyone looking to improve their ability to make decisions can benefit from having a solid understanding of various decision-making strategies, managers and team leaders may find this knowledge to be especially helpful. Key decisions are frequently made by managers and team leaders that affect the overall health of an organization. Effective decision-making enables leaders to make thoughtful decisions that benefit their team and organization.

What are decision-making strategies?

A decision-making strategy is a method that a person employs when making a crucial choice. Each decision-making strategy offers a distinctive framework to address particular needs and requirements because every situation is different. You can make more effective decisions in both your personal and professional life by learning about various decision-making techniques and applying them.

12 Decision-making strategies

Here are 12 decision-making strategies you can explore:

1. Analytical decision-making

The analytical decision-making approach uses reason, evidence, and facts to arrive at an informed choice. If you have access to all the information necessary to properly assess a situation, this tactic is a great option. Analytical decision-making typically involves a well-organized series of steps that enable people to divide big or complex decisions into smaller, easier-to-manage tasks. Analytical decision-making may be the best course of action for you if the situation you are dealing with involves specific numbers or variables.

Thomas is a pro at social media marketing and specializes in managing ad campaigns for big businesses. One of Thomas’s clients wants to increase their marketing budget, and they inquire as to which social media network they should invest the extra funds on. Thomas determines which social media platform will yield the highest return on investment (ROI) by analyzing the analytics from prior advertising campaigns and the information he has gathered about his clients’ target audience.

2. Command decision-making

When using the command decision-making strategy, a leader decides without taking into account the opinions of others. Since it is the quickest and most direct method of decision-making, this strategy can be helpful in situations that require quick decisions or urgency. In hectic work environments, it can also give team members a clear sense of direction. If you decide to use the command decision-making strategy, make sure you are knowledgeable enough about the matter to make a sensible choice.

As an illustration, Heather, the manager of a coffee shop, makes a monthly schedule of the team’s shift assignments. She is very knowledgeable about who can work on which days and what each team member’s skill sets are. In order to inform her team of the new schedule, Heather updates the work schedule at the end of each month and pins it to a bulletin board at the coffee shop.

3. Collaborative decision-making

A collaborative decision-making approach involves getting input from multiple people. Teams or groups frequently collaborate to discuss a situation and come up with a potential solution. Making decisions in this manner can help you make sure that your team members believe you value their input. Many executives also decide to include suggestions from customers, suppliers, and industry professionals in their group decision-making process. This strategy can give you a more varied viewpoint, which can aid in your decision-making and help you be more objective and well-balanced.

For instance, one of the clients of Lawrences Marketing needs a new billboard campaign. Lawrence requests that each team member come up with an idea to present at their upcoming meeting. He then asks his team to vote anonymously on their favorite pitch. Lawrence instructs his team to create a presentation for each of the top three pitches after they have chosen the top three. Then they present their client with the top three pitches to see which one they prefer.

4. Expertise decision-making

Experts in a particular field, profession, or topic may elect to employ the expertise decision-making strategy. This strategy might work for you if you have sufficient knowledge or experience to make an intuitive judgment about a particular subject. You can make quick decisions using the expertise decision-making method without having to argue or converse about a particular issue with other team members.

Example: Nathan has been a dentist for 35 years. When one of his patients complains of pain, Nathan recognizes right away that they have a cavity. Given that he has treated numerous patients with cavities over the years, Nathan is aware that this is making his patients feel uncomfortable. He makes an appointment with the patient for a follow-up procedure to fill the cavity.

5. Consensus-based decision-making

Using the consensus-based decision-making strategy may be a wise choice if you want to make sure that everyone on your team agrees with a particular choice. In this strategy, a team member’s leader informs them of all pertinent information and demands that they select a single course of action. Consensus-based decision-making can foster a sense of unity and teamwork, even though it may take longer than many other methods. You can choose to present specific solutions to your team and ask them to select one in order to expedite your discussion.

For illustration, Margaret is the head of a 50-year-old nonprofit in her community. She has decided that the nonprofit’s branding needs to be updated so that it appears polished and qualified. Margaret displays two new logos created for the nonprofit by a nearby marketing firm at the ensuing board meeting. The nonprofit’s board of directors must all concur on the best logo in order to update it.

6. Random choice decision-making

Random choice decision-making is one of the simplest strategies available. When used properly, this strategy can help you save time and make wise decisions. To decide, you could use a coin toss or a random number generator. When making decisions that must be made quickly and with little consequence, leaders frequently employ this technique. If the outcomes of the options they are deciding between are extremely similar or unclear, they may also employ this strategy.

Example: Natalie wants to buy lunch for her team, but some want pizza and others want tacos. Natalie chooses to toss a coin in order to make a quick decision. If it lands on heads, her team can have pizza. If it lands on tails, her team can have tacos. When the coin comes up tails, Natalie places a taco order for her group.

7. Vote decision-making

You can base your decision on what the majority of people want by using the vote decision-making strategy. This can be a great way to get direct feedback from a large number of people without engaging in lengthy discussion. To facilitate voting, leaders frequently give their teams a selection of options to choose from. Don’t forget to provide your team with enough information so they can understand the situation they are voting on.

Example: Film studio owner Mark wants to enter one of his team’s videos in a nearby film festival. Three of the videos that his team has created over the past year are all serious contenders for an award. He makes the decision to gather his group to watch each of the videos and select their favorite. Mark enters the most popular video into the film festival.

8. Single feature decision-making

Making decisions quickly about straightforward issues can be successful when using the single feature decision-making strategy. Determine the most critical aspect of your decision that needs to be considered before using this strategy. Then choose an option that has that feature.

A 40-gallon water heater needs to be replaced for one of Thomas’s clients, a plumber. They say they trust his judgment as long as the water heater costs less than $900 when he asks his client what kind of water heater they’re interested in. Thomas looks through the 40-gallon water heaters his employer has in stock and chooses one that will cost less than $900 to install.

9. Delegation decision-making

If you require opinions from someone who is knowledgeable about the subject, using the delegation decision-making strategy is a fantastic choice. This technique can be used to delegate decision-making to someone else, such as a consultant, expert, or member of your team with more in-depth knowledge of the subject. By delegating decisions, you can save time and give your team members the impression that you value their input.

Example: Matthew is the manager at a growing technology startup. As he adds more staff, he becomes aware that the current accounting and payroll system is insufficient for their requirements. Matthew requests that the company’s HR representative compile a list of her top three software recommendations for him to review because she has over 30 years of experience working with various accounting and payroll systems.

10. Additive feature decision-making

Prior to systematically evaluating each option, the additive feature decision-making strategy takes into account all of the crucial features. This approach can help you make challenging decisions. Make a list of all the crucial characteristics you want to think about first. Then determine which of the crucial features each of your options includes before evaluating them. This can assist you in ranking your choices and determining which has the most crucial features.

For instance, freelance photographer Lydia wants to buy a new camera. She compiles a list of the most crucial features she wants her new camera to have in order to decide which is the best. Then she assigns a ranking to each of her top three camera choices based on the features that each of them has. She decides to buy the camera with the most features available.

11. Elimination by aspects decision-making

When there are many options available, the decision-making strategy of elimination by aspects is effective. Determine which characteristics are most crucial before using this strategy. Consider each choice individually, starting with the most crucial aspect. Then, until there is only one choice left, gradually eliminate each option that doesn’t meet the criteria you’ve established.

For instance, Lance, who works for a digital marketing firm, is searching for new software to assist his team in measuring campaign analytics. He compiles a list of the key characteristics. Lance contrasts each of the software options starting with the most crucial feature. If an option doesnt include one feature, he eliminates it. This aids Lance in identifying the software that has all the crucial features.

12. Availability heuristic decision-making

Leaders can make wise choices in ambiguous situations by using availability heuristic decision-making techniques. By contrasting your current circumstance with a previous instance of something similar, this technique can assist you in determining how likely something is. You may be able to make the best choice by considering what you have learned from past experiences.

For the fifth year running, Kathleen is organizing her company’s annual holiday party. When the holiday party was on a Friday in the past, more people showed up. In an effort to draw in more members of her team, Kathleen decides to hold this year’s holiday party on a Friday.


What are the four decision-making strategies?

There are four types of strategic decisions you can begin to apply straightaway, whether you are dealing with a familiar situation or a novel one.
  • Analytical Decision Making. …
  • Heuristic Decision Making. …
  • Expertise Decision Making. …
  • Random Choice Decision Making.

What are the five decision-making strategies?

5 Steps to Good Decision Making
  • Step 1: Identify Your Goal. One of the best methods for making decisions is to keep an eye on your objective.
  • Step 2: Gather Information for Weighing Your Options. …
  • Step 3: Consider the Consequences. …
  • Step 4: Make Your Decision. …
  • Step 5: Evaluate Your Decision.

What are the 8 decision-making strategies?

The eight steps are to identify the issue, take into account its nature, conduct research, develop solutions, list the benefits and drawbacks of those solutions, choose the best course of action, carry it out, and evaluate.

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