Wednesday, December 11, 2013

6 Elements of Decision Quality

Carl Spetzler, the chairman and CEO of Strategic Decisions Group and the program director for Stanford's Strategic Decision and Risk Management Program, has said that no matter what our role is in the group decision making process, we can't address problems from our own comfort zones. By tapping the collective intelligence of others, we let others challenge our comfortable assumptions and push us toward smarter alternatives.

Spetzler's six elements of decision quality form links in a chain. The final decision will only be as strong as the weakest link. These links include:

  1. Solving the right problem. Confront the real issues instead of stalling or getting distracted by peripheral problems.
  2. Clarify what you want. Use visualization to determine which outcome you want to achieve.
  3. Come up with creative but doable alternatives. This step is a good place to pull in collective intelligence by using crowdsourcing tools. Although they'll have to work within given constraints, tap your employees' tacit knowledge to come up with creative but realistic solutions.
  4. Gather the right information. There needs to be a consensus on the type of information required to make a smarter decision. Too often organizations don't analyze what information is relevant or required before the decision takes place.
  5. Make your choices using logical and correct reasoning. Clarifying the values of the organization in order to align towards a common goal helps in coping with tradeoffs.
  6. Commit. Decisions can be made easily, but they're meaningless until they're implemented. As an organization, stick with your choices unless you need a drastic course correction.

Through the use of a visualization tool like RankTab everyone is able to visualize the hidden consensus of the group, and choose among aligned criteria instead of just having endless erratic discussions.

Although our individual tacit knowledge may give us some insight on different situations, we too often choose what is familiar over what might actually work. Crowdsourcing decision making with an app like RankTab not only helps us to make smarter and faster choices. It also takes us out of what we know and forces us to see beyond the obvious options.

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