What is Decision Making?
In its simplest sense, decision-making is the act of choosing between two or more courses of action.
In the wider process of problem-solving, decision-making involves choosing between possible solutions to a problem. Decisions can be made through either an intuitive or reasoned process, or a combination of the two.
Intuition is using your ‘gut feeling’ about possible courses of action.
Although people talk about it as if it was a magical ‘sense’, intuition is actually a combination of past experience and your personal values. It is worth taking your intuition into account, because it reflects your learning about life. It is, however, not always based on reality, only your perceptions, many of which may have started in childhood and may not be very mature as a result.
It is therefore worth examining your gut feeling closely, especially if you have a very strong feeling against a particular course of action, to see if you can work out why, and whether the feeling is justified.
Reasoning is using the facts and figures in front of you to make decisions.
Reasoning has its roots in the here-and-now, and in facts. It can, however, ignore emotional aspects to the decision, and in particular, issues from the past that may affect the way that the decision is implemented.
Intuition is a perfectly acceptable means of making a decision, although it is generally more appropriate when the decision is of a simple nature or needs to be made quickly.
More complicated decisions tend to require a more formal, structured approach, usually involving both intuition and reasoning. It is important to be wary of impulsive reactions to a situation.
Applying Both Reason and Intuition
One way to do this is to apply the two aspects in turn. It’s useful to start with reason, and gather facts and figures. Once you have an obvious ‘decision’, it’s the turn of intuition. How do you feel about the ‘answer’? Does it feel right?
If not, have another look, and see if you can work out why not. If you’re not emotionally committed to the decision you’ve made, you won’t implement it well or effectively.