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Decision Making -- Question & Answer Listing  
Viewing 1-9 of 9 Knowledge Entries
Question / Answer

Question:
How can a leader be confident about his/her decisions that severely impact an organization’s resources?

Answer:
As with any decision a leader makes, he/she should consider all the available information about the issue; analyze different courses of action (to include getting feedback from those affected by the decision) and select the most efficient and effective option before committing to a decision that will be costly to reverse.

Question:
How do you deal with uncertainty in decision-making?

Answer:
There are many different things you can do to deal with uncertainty in decision-making. Many of them depend on the type of decision you are trying to make. For example, you may be able to use some form of statistical analysis to cope with uncertainty. In many cases, you may need to rely on your own instincts. Gather facts (and figures, if numerical or financial information apply) about the problem at hand and enlist the help of other subject matter experts, if possible. Use the information you have available to you, along with your own experience to make decisions when dealing with uncertainty. Refer to some of the other resources listed for more information about dealing with uncertainty.

Question:
How much interaction with one’s superiors should a leader have when making risky decisions?

Answer:
When faced with risky decisions, a leader should rely on his/her own knowledge, experience, and judgment – unless the decision is out of his/her area of responsibility. Seeking clarification or advice from one’s superiors or other subject matter experts is appropriate. However, leaders are expected to make tough decisions. As noted in Chapter 5 of FM 22-100: Direct Leadership Actions, “Ask only for decisions that fall outside your scope of authority—not those you want to avoid. Forward only problems you can’t fix—not those whose solutions are just difficult. Ask for advice from others with more experience or seek clarification when you don’t understand what’s required. Do all that and exercise disciplined initiative within your boss’s intent.”

Question:
What are some factors that have an affect on group decision making?

Answer:
No matter what method of group decision-making is used, it is important to understand the affects that certain factors can have on the process. For example, group members have different personalities. As a leader, it is important to recognize these different personalities and make sure you allow the diversity to support the process - not cause undue friction among group members. People often have hidden agendas such that they may try to sway the group one way or another in order to benefit their cause as opposed to making the best decision for the group. Other factors that could affect group decision-making are external loyalties, political affiliations, and social or religious reasons. Learn more about group decision-making through some of the references cited here.

Question:
What are some general factors involved in making good decisions?

Answer:
The most important step in making decisions is to have a clear definition of the end-state. What results do you expect to achieve once a decision is made? Once you have that defined, you should identify and prioritize relevant information to accomplish the desired goal, while minimizing the risk. Develop several courses of action. Recognize that you may need to adapt to changing circumstances and requirements that occur during the decision-making process. Evaluate each course of action and choose the most effective one. Another tip to keep in mind is to consider separating tasks into their component parts when analyzing problems as it is often beneficial (and less overwhelming) to break up a large problem into smaller, more manageable problems.

Question:
What are some general roadblocks that can inhibit problem solving?

Answer:
Many roadblocks that can inhibit problem solving are obvious. It is the obstacles that are not as obvious that can really slow down your progress when addressing a problem. Try to identify potential obstacles that could impact your efforts to find solutions to problems, such as other individuals, agencies, events or constraints that are outside your local environment. Look ahead to future events and activities and ask the question: will this affect the successful outcome I am seeking? Do you have all the information you need to solve the problem and/or is it accurate? Army Family Team Building’s (AFTB) Level II Intermediate Problem Solving course includes some other roadblocks to consider. For example, an individual’s fear of failure can be a roadblock. Sometimes alternatives or courses of action are not attempted because of the fear of failure. Focusing too much attention on a single course of action (i.e., tunnel vision) can also be an obstacle because it prevents you from considering other alternatives. Another roadblock that often comes up in organizations is the familiarity with current procedures. In other words, “We’ve always done it this way.” Some individuals fail to allow themselves to consider changing the way they operate. These are just a few of the other roadblocks discussed in the AFTB Level II course. Contact your local AFTB office for more information on problem solving (and other classes) as well as some of the other references noted here.

Question:
What are some types of group decision making processes?

Answer:
There are a number of different group decision-making methods, some of which work better in certain situations than others. For example, For example, using an autocratic style of decision-making, the leader of the group defines the problem, creates and evaluates alternative solutions, and chooses the course of action the group will take. While this does not seem very “democratic,” the leader may be in a crisis situation where there is no time to allow for group agreement to occur. On the other hand, a volunteer organization deciding on a theme for a fund-raising event may take a more participative approach and try to get the majority of the members to make the decision. Note that these are just a couple examples. Check with some of the listed references for more information on group decision-making methods.

Question:
What is meant by “outcomes-based” evaluation of a program?

Answer:
“Outcomes-based” evaluation focuses on the benefits received by the clients of a program as opposed to other types of evaluations used to assess the success of a program, which often use measures related more to the organization’s needs or goals. Outcomes-based evaluation is often used in assessing government and non-profit organizations because their programs tend to be service-oriented operations. Their focus is on things like whether or not the client’s needs were met or how the client felt after the service was provided, not necessarily on how many clients were served or how many different services are offered. The United Way of America has a book called “Measuring Program Outcomes: A Practical Approach (1996)” that is a good resource for organizations who are developing basic program evaluation plans using an outcomes-based approach. Check with some of the other references provided for more information on outcomes-based evaluation methods.

Question:
Why is it so important to go through the chain of command when dealing with issues or problems as opposed to going right to the top leader of the organization?

Answer:
Organizational hierarchies are established to provide an official framework for all the different activities and/or components in an organization. Each unit in the hierarchy has different responsibilities and missions, and accountability is maintained by the reporting done from level-to-level up through the chain of command. It is important to follow the appropriate chain of command when trying to resolve a problem because it helps to maintain this accountability and the problem may be resolved quicker. Skipping levels in the chain of command can cause resentment among individuals in the leadership hierarchy. It may also delay resolution of the problem because the resources needed to resolve it may be controlled by individuals lower in the hierarchy. If further assistance is needed, the issue will be taken forward to the next higher decision-maker in the chain of command.
Viewing 1-9 of 9 Knowledge Entries

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