As I discussed in a previous post, there are three general approaches to decision-making: (1) systematic process approaches, (2) intuitive approaches, and (3) principle-based approaches.
Combine these ApproachesI would submit that effective decision-makers intuitively combine each of these approaches in the decisions they make. Thinking systematically enables the individual to use scientific forms of thinking and reasoning, and without this the decision will likely be flawed. For example, when I redesign a course in my work at Franklin University, I often review and analyze data related to that course - student feedback, faculty comments and concerns, the course materials, and trends in the field - so that I can have a sound basis upon which to redesign the course. But in that redesign, I can also rely on principles to guide my work. I assume that applying these research-based instructional principles will produce the optimal learning environment, so I apply them to the course I am redesigning. Finally, in any given course redesign, I find that I must use my intuition and creativity to make some of the decisions that go into the design and development of the course. If there is no clear way to develop an assignment or a piece of multimedia, I do my best to creatively apply what I believe will help students learn effectively.
Goals and Decisions
To make a good decision, you must have a goal or an outcome. If you know what you want to happen, then you are already on the right track. Sometimes the decision is to simply decide what your goal is. If you can't agree on a goal, then you are probably in trouble.
Context is Crucial
It should be noted that these three decision-making approaches all occur within a specific context. The nation, state, city, organization, college, department, and workspace a person is working in can all significantly influence the decisions being made. A good decision-maker is very aware of these contexts and considers them when applying all three decision-making strategies.