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Decision Making

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Cause and Effect Analysis (Fishbone Diagrams) - from MindTools.com. Root Cause Analysis - Problem Solving From MindTools.com. Tracing a Problem to its Origins Learn how to use Root Cause Analysis to fix problems more easily.

Root Cause Analysis - Problem Solving From MindTools.com

In medicine, it's easy to understand the difference between treating the symptoms and curing the condition. A broken wrist, for example, really hurts! But painkillers will only take away the symptoms; you'll need a different treatment to help your bones heal properly. But what do you do when you have a problem at work? However, if you look deeper to figure out what's causing the problem, you can fix the underlying systems and processes so that it goes away for good. Root Cause Analysis (RCA) is a popular and often-used technique that helps people answer the question of why the problem occurred in the first place. Determine what happened. RCA assumes that systems and events are interrelated. You'll usually find three basic types of causes: Physical causes – Tangible, material items failed in some way (for example, a car's brakes stopped working). RCA looks at all three types of causes. Make Sure You’re Solving the Right Problem.

It may be obvious that you can’t solve a problem that’s not well defined, but many people neglect this detail.

Make Sure You’re Solving the Right Problem

Next time you think you’re ready to go into problem-solving mode, consider the following: Establish the basic need for a solution. Why does the problem need solving? Justify the need. Make sure it’s worth your time. Adapted from “Are You Solving the Right Problem?” Visit Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip homepage Purchase the HBR Management Tips book. The Problem-Definition Process - Problem-Solving Tools From MindTools.com.

Developing the Right Solution © iStockphotoklaravlas Understand your problem and its wider context.

The Problem-Definition Process - Problem-Solving Tools From MindTools.com

When we try to solve business problems, we can often pressurize ourselves to find solutions quickly. The problem with this is that we can end up only partially solving the problem, or we can solve the wrong problem altogether, with all of the delay, expense, and lost business opportunity that goes with this. How to Make Decisions - Decision Making Tools From MindTools.com. Making the Best Possible Choices Take the "overwhelming" factor out of decision making with this logical, step-by-step process.

How to Make Decisions - Decision Making Tools From MindTools.com

Imagine that your company has been expanding rapidly over the past 12 months. Sales are up 50 percent, but costs and overheads have also increased, so your operating profit has fallen. The Effective Decision. Effective executives do not make a great many decisions.

The Effective Decision

They concentrate on what is important. They try to make the few important decisions on the highest level of conceptual understanding. They try to find the constants in a situation, to think through what is strategic and generic rather than to “solve problems.” They are, therefore, not overly impressed by speed in decision making; rather, they consider virtuosity in manipulating a great many variables a symptom of sloppy thinking. They want to know what the decision is all about and what the underlying realities are which it has to satisfy. Effective executives know when a decision has to be based on principle and when it should be made pragmatically, on the merits of the case. Sequential Steps The elements do not by themselves “make” the decisions. Leaders as Decision Architects. All employees, from CEOs to frontline workers, commit preventable mistakes: We underestimate how long it will take to finish a task, overlook or ignore information that reveals a flaw in our planning, or fail to take advantage of company benefits that are in our best interests.

Leaders as Decision Architects

It’s extraordinarily difficult to rewire the human brain to undo the patterns that lead to such mistakes. But there is another approach: Alter the environment in which decisions are made so that people are more likely to make choices that lead to good outcomes. Leaders can do this by acting as architects. Drawing on our extensive research in the consulting, software, entertainment, health care, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, banking, retail, and food industries and on the basic principles of behavioral economics, we have developed an approach for structuring work to encourage good decision making.

Understand How Decisions Are Made Each of the two modes of thinking has distinct advantages and disadvantages. Outsmart Your Own Biases. Suppose you’re evaluating a job candidate to lead a new office in a different country.

Outsmart Your Own Biases

On paper this is by far the most qualified person you’ve seen. How can decision making be improved? Decision Making Techniques and Skills from MindTools.com. Before You Make That Big Decision... (HBR Bestseller) This pricing is for PDFs that are purchased and downloaded from our website and printed copies that ship from our warehouse to your requested shipping location.

Before You Make That Big Decision... (HBR Bestseller)

Avoiding Psychological Bias in Decision Making - From MindTools.com. How to Make Objective Decisions © iStockphotokemie Are you making a balanced judgement, or do you have confirmation bias?

Avoiding Psychological Bias in Decision Making - From MindTools.com

Imagine that you're researching a potential product. You think that the market is growing, and, as part of your research, you find information that supports this belief. As a result, you decide that the product will do well, and you launch it, backed by a major marketing campaign.