Make decisions in a good way

06. January 2019John Ryding Olsson

Four strategies for making optimal decisions

Decisions need to be legitimate and of a high quality and we don’t want to waste unnecessary time making them. The blue figure depicts when it is important to involve others and who to involve.

The vertical axis is rationality. How important is it to have the right information in order to make the right decision? The horizontal axis is more political. Here the essential thing is that the decision will be accepted by a certain target group. It’s all about legitimacy.

If it’s crucial that the decision is very accurate and of a high quality we are moving in the two upper possibilities. If, however, it’s a technical decision of little or no interest to non-specialists but where it is essential to choose the optimal solution the decision can be made by a few relevant specialists.

If the decision has a considerable impact on users and stakeholders it is important to involve them in the decision-making. This is a very exhaustive decision-making process to create consensus among specialists and stakeholders.

If we are moving in the lower part of the figure where the outcome isn’t crucial, i.e. if there are several alternatives, we have two possibilites. If the outcome is non-essential to the team members or stakeholders the project manager can make the decision without involving anybody else. If there is a group of team members who find the colour of the café tablecloths important for the information meeting, the project manager lets them make the decision.

Decisions are not exclusively based on objective data. Decisions are just as much about making the power structure in the stakeholder group or the organisation visible. Your time is best spent on decisions that have to be optimal or demands a high level of legitimacy.




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John Ryding Olsson Founder & author
John Ryding Olsson Founder & author John Ryding Olsson

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