How to Enhance the Decision-Making Skills of Managers

StrategyDriven Decision-Making Article | How to Enhance the Decision-Making Skills of ManagersBuilding a successful business requires the ability to make decisions. It is imperative for entrepreneurs to make the right decisions and put them into action effectively.

As humans, we have the privilege of being able to learn and enhance our decision-making skills.

You will find a list of skills you will need to develop in order to become a more effective manager and leader in this guide.

What Can You Do to Make Better Decisions?

Management decisions have a direct impact on everyday business. Making the correct decisions requires using the most relevant information and delivering the intended results. In any situation, whether decisions affect one person or a whole organization, a step-by-step framework ensures good results.

Below are some steps to consider taking to enhance your decision-making skills within the workplace:

  • Find the Problem: Don’t forget to ask questions, get feedback from key players, and consider all angles. If you thoroughly understand the scenario, you will be in a better position to make an informed decision.
  • Re-Examine the Data: Make sure you collect as many applicable details as possible. A team member familiar with the work area should be assigned data-gathering tasks whenever you’re considering a bigger decision.
  • Examine Each Choice: Choose the path that offers the best chance of success after weighing the pros and cons of various options.
  • Pick a Plan of Action: Decide on the overall best course of action.
  • Execute Your Plan: Develop a clear, specific, and actionable plan. Provide employees with information and encourage them to go forward with the plan.
  • Check Your Final Results: You can learn from every course of action you take. Take note of your results to identify areas where your decisions need to be improved. Is the data you have accurate? Is each option being considered or recognized? How well do you communicate with your employees?
  • Stay Up to Date With Plans: Reorient your course of action by making the necessary changes. Keeping track of the things that worked and what didn’t will enable you to make better decisions in the future.

Decision-Making Skills for Effective Leadership

The below skills will enhance your ability to make the best decisions to drive personal and professional development, growth, and success:

  • Identifying Problems: Making decisions requires the ability to recognize problems and find solutions. Problem-solving skills allow you to remain calm under pressure and find the best possible solutions.
  • Processing Data: Assimilate the information by performing your own analysis or delegating the task to the corresponding employees. It is also important to know what type of data you require.
  • Managing Your Time: It is necessary to make certain decisions quickly. The ability to make informed decisions within the required timeframe is essential for success.
  • Communicating Effectively: Decisions must be communicated clearly and effectively. It is possible to stay up to date on project progress, work processes, and employee performance by actively listening. When you need to make a quick decision, each conversation becomes information.
  • Maintaining Humility: Sometimes it’s about acknowledging that another employee’s solution is better than yours. Making the right choice is essential, regardless of who developed the solution.
  • <strong”>Practicing Mediation: /strong> Achieving fairness, assessing everyone’s viewpoint, and diffusing conflict are crucial.
  • Planning: There are often unexpected pitfalls associated with business decisions. Having a good plan allows your team to avoid unforeseen problems.
  • Ongoing Training for Leadership Best Practices: The best decisions are useless unless they are shared with others. Leading effectively is dependent on a leader’s ability to convince others of the rightness of their decisions.

What You Need to Know About Decision Making

A business’s success depends on its ability to make decisions. Making decisions is most effective when evidence is interpreted in conjunction with previous experience. Take advantage of decision-making opportunities in your business and learn from your decisions. As you gain experience, you will become more effective and comfortable making decisions.

What are Some Ways that You Can Encourage Ethical Decision-Making?

Those who make ethical decisions consider their company’s bottom line as well as their community’s impact. It is encouraged that employees do the same. It is not only beneficial to your business to make ethical decisions, but also to the community as a whole.

One way to achieve better decision-making skills in the workplace is to invest in executive coaching for professionals.

The Five Key Qualities of a Decision-Maker

StrategyDriven Decision-Making Article | The Five Key Qualities of a Decision-MakerDecision-making is one of the most important qualities when it comes to successfully running a business. Without being able to make the right decisions a business is likely to completely flounder. That’s why it’s so important to know which qualities separate a proper decision-maker from somebody who is simply coasting. Whether you are the CEO of a company but are unsure of how to proceed or you are looking to rise up the ranks of your company through firm and decisive action, you have come to the right place. Read on now for all you need to know about decision-making.


A good business leader knows that no decision should ever be entered into lightly, as there can be a whole bunch of factors that could come into play once a decision has been gone into. That’s why you should make sure to do as much research as you can within the given time-frame as well as putting in the time to learn key skills and insights about the business. For key learnings about how to get better insights into your business, you should check out the services of a small business consultant today.


Listening is often an underrated part of the decision-making process, but the best CEOs know that they are not so often operating autocracies, but take all ideas in-hand before finally committing to a final decision. Take the example of the long-serving chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, who is often praised for her ability to listen to everyone before finally taking her own initiative.

Understand Risk

All decisions are about balancing risk in some way. After all, no matter which decision that you make in the end, you might encounter some difficulty along the way. By doing your research and understanding all the different risks involved, you will be able to make the best possible decision possible for your business.


Only the worst decision-makers jump rashly into a new business plan. It is worth fully deliberating and taking your time before you decide to commit to an idea. The worst decision you can make is a quick one, as this can definitely backfire. Remember it’s always better to not do something risky than to commit at all, meaning that you should be aware of all the different outcomes before making that final commitment.


Intense deliberation should never be confused with indecisiveness. Instead, it is about weighing up options before committing to one. This mean that eventually you want to be able to make a key choice, good or bad, to allow the company to move forward. One of the worst options is to take too long to come to a final conclusion as this can slow down company processes completely and also cause your employees to start making decision themselves without your authority. Instead, once you have an idea of what you want to do, it’s important to take the lead, make that decision and then be responsible for any possible outcome.

Strategy as a Problem Solving Process

StrategyDriven Decision Making Article |problem solving |Strategy as a Problem Solving Process“The old paradigm of strategy departments and planning cycles has been overthrown by agile and rapid team-based problem solving, providing better solutions and better organization alignment to implement.” These comments by Mehrdad Baghai, strategist and author, commend our book Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill that Changes Everything. But what does it mean to adopt agile and rapid team-based problem solving, where strategy becomes a problem solving process?

Teams and agile methodology have become the dominant form of organization for environments featuring high uncertainty and rapid change, where business models are challenged by disrupters. In these settings the most effective teams follow the 7 steps process for bulletproof problem solving, by asking themselves the following questions:

1. Are we working on the right problem? Defining a problem well is often said to take you more than halfway to the solution. This invariably leads to a clear problem statement of the challenges you have to address, the decision context, problem boundaries and success criteria.

2. Have we broken down the problem into key issues to address? Complex problems can rarely be solved without breaking the larger problem into parts. How you disaggregate or cleave a problem has a big impact on the insight you get into a problem. We show numerous examples from return on invested capital logic trees, to logic trees that help you decide whether to put solar panels on your roof.

3. Are our priorities for analysis the right ones? For efficient use of team resources you need to be working on the issues where the impact is high and you have a significant ability to influence the outcome. This may require a lot of debate in the team. That’s important too.

4. Have we brought outside perspectives and diversity of views to bear in the team? We urge teams to have hypotheses about the answer but open them to challenge in the team, by having diverse perspectives, role playing and actively tapping expertise outside the team. Really good teams porpoise frequently between the hypothesis and the data, sharpening the hypothesis along the way. The data comes in the form of facts and analysis. Yes facts and analysis still make a huge difference to problem solving outcomes.

5. Do we have the right analytic toolkit for the problem? Teams will, and should, make use of heuristics and rules of thumb to scope problems and knock out infeasible solutions. At times, to solve a problem involves understanding root causes or predicting an outcome. That’s when you have to bring out the analytic big guns such as regression, simulation, A/B experiments and machine learning. You can even crowdsource your solutions with Kaggle competitions.

6. Are we carefully synthesizing our findings? We like the way the successful investor Ray Dalio expresses it ‘The quality of your synthesis will determine the quality of your decision making.’ The process we follow is to draw together findings on the key issues into an overall picture, ideally with visualization to show linkages and highlight key drivers or root causes.

7. Have we presented our findings in a compelling narrative that is likely to lead to action? This final step is so often underdone and the source of team disappointment. Doing it the right way involves choosing a governing thought from the synthesis, accompanied by a logical argument structure that may be based on inductive or deductive reasoning.

When this process is complete, teams have reached the holy grail of strategy as a problem solving process as Richard Rumelt put it in Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters. Rumelt succinctly describes ‘a strategy is a coherent set of analyses, concepts, policies, arguments and actions that respond to a high stakes challenge.’ We agree and know that the way to get there is through a 7-step problem solving process.

About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Robert McLeanRobert McLean is co-author, with Charles Conn, of Bulletproof Problem Solving: The One Skill That Changes Everything (Wiley 2019). McLean is a Director Emeritus of McKinsey and Company and led the Australian and New Zealand McKinsey practice for eight years.

Decision-Making Warning Flag 1b – Weak Analogies

StrategyDriven Decision Making Article | Decision-Making Warning Flag 1b - Weak Analogies“The fallacy of Weak analogy is committed when a conclusion is based on an insufficient, poor, or inadequate analogy. The analogy offered as evidence is faulty because it is irrelevant; the claimed similarity is superficial or unrelated to the issue at stake in the argument. Or the analogy may be relevant to some extent yet overlooks or ignores significant dissimilarities between the analogs.”

Paul Leclerc
Community College of Rhode Island

Citizens have been asked to cast their vote for a referendum requiring those seeking to purchase a hammer to undergo a registration process similar to that for firearms. Supporters argue that because hammers, like guns, have metal parts and can be used to kill people that these tools should be legally controlled as guns are. These proponents are using a Weak Analogy to advance their position.

Weak analogies are used to support business decisions every day. As with all logic errors, decision-makers fall prey to the appearance of reasonableness, especially when the position supported justifies their desired course of action. Although difficult, recognizing and eliminating the use of Weak Analogies in decision-making is absolutely necessary.[wcm_restrict plans=”49457, 25542, 25653″]

Weak analogies occur when a decision-maker asserts greater similarity between two circumstances or entities than actually exists. In the hammer legislation example, supporters of the bill inappropriately correlate the similarities between hammers and firearms when arguing for greater hammer controls. Breaking down the hammer-firearm analogy reveals the correlation weakness:

  • A is like B: Hammers and firearms both have metal parts and can be used to kill people.
  • B has property P: Firearms are subject to rigorous legal controls and restrictions.
  • A has or should have property P because B does and A is like B: Hammers should be subject to the same legal controls and restrictions as guns.

The assertion that hammers and firearms are alike because they both have metal parts and can be used to kill people omits important differences between these two objects:

  • The fundamental purpose and use of a hammer is as a construction tool, cooking tool, or ceremonial tool whereas the fundamental purpose of a firearm is to cause or threaten to cause harm to people and animals or to damage physical objects.
  • Hammers are most frequently used for their primary purpose and result in far fewer deaths or harmful attacks on people and animals than do firearms.

These latter two characteristics are more material to the comparison of hammers and firearms in the context of legal controls. Considering the broader range of important hammer and gun characteristics reveals the Weak Analogy used by the hammer control advocates and invalidates their assertion.

Recognizing Weak Analogies

Logic errors are often difficult to recognize, Weak Analogies being no exception. Questions decision-makers should consider in order to avoid Weak Analogies include:

  • Was logic applied to support the desired decision option rather than independently identify the best option?
  • Has the decision’s logic been aggressively challenged, preferably by the team’s Devil’s Advocate or a disinterested third party?
  • When comparing circumstances or entities, were all characteristics of each identified and the material characteristics used to justify the correlation?
  • Were the characteristics of the compared circumstances or entities thoroughly assessed or the correlation naturally assumed?
  • Does the Devil’s Advocate or disinterested third party have the level of knowledge and experience necessary to assess analogies used in the decision-making process?

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[/wcm_nonmember]Additional Information

Additional insight to the warning signs, causes, and results of logic errors can be found in the StrategyDriven website feature: Decision-Making Warning Flag 1 – Logic Fallacies Introduction.

Decision-Making Warning Flag 1a – The Gambler’s Fallacy

StrategyDriven Decision-Making Article | Decision-Making Warning Flag 1a - The Gambler's Fallacy“The Gambler’s Fallacy, also known as the Monte Carlo Fallacy, is the false belief that the probability of an event in a random sequence is dependent on preceding events, its probability increasing with each successive occasion on which it fails to occur.”

Gambler’s Fallacy

Seated at a roulette table, a gambler must decide on what color to place his next bet, red or black. He knows there is a 50 percent chance of getting either red or black and that the first four spins of the wheel yielded all reds. The gambler reasons that because half of all spins should result in black and the first four were red, it is more likely the fifth spin of the roulette wheel will be black and places his bet. While his logic appears reasonable, the roulette player has just fallen victim to the Gambler’s Fallacy.[wcm_restrict plans=”25541, 25542, 25653″]

Circumstances like this one are not limited to gamblers; they plague executives and managers in the business world every day. Decision-makers are victimized by the Gambler’s Fallacy because, like all logic errors, it appears reasonable and typically justifies the desired course of action. Recognizing the Gambler’s Fallacy is therefore difficult but necessary.

The Gambler’s Fallacy logic error occurs when a decision-maker incorrectly believes the probability of an independent event is in some way influenced by preceding occurrences. In the roulette example, the player wrongly assumed the first four results would influence the outcome of the fifth spin. Prior to the five spins, the likelihood of spinning five consecutive reds is calculated as:

Underlying Facts:

  • Possible Outcomes: Red or Black
  • Outcome Distribution: Equal number of Red and Black opportunities
  • Probability of Spinning Red: 50 percent
  • Probability of Spinning Black: 50 percent


  • First Spin is Red: 50 percent
  • First and Second Spins are Red: (50 percent) x (50 percent) = 25 percent
  • First, Second, and Third Spins are Red: (50 percent) x (50 percent) x (50 percent) = 12.5 percent
  • First, Second, Third, and Fourth Spins are Red: (50 percent) x (50 percent) x (50 percent) x (50 percent) = 6.25 percent
  • First, Second, Third, Fourth, and Fifth Spins are Red: (50 percent) x (50 percent) x (50 percent) x (50 percent) x (50 percent) = 3.125 percent

Therefore, prior to the first spin of the roulette wheel the change of realizing a Red outcome five consecutive times is a mere 3.125 percent. However, because each spin is an independent event, not in any way influenced by the preceding outcomes, the chance of spinning Red on the fifth attempt having already spun four consecutive Reds is one in two or 50 percent. As long as the game is fair, it will always be 50 percent!

Recognizing the Gambler’s Fallacy

Logic errors are often difficult to recognize, the Gambler’s Fallacy being no exception. Questions decision-makers should consider in order to avoid the Gambler’s Fallacy include:

  • Was logic applied to support the desired decision option rather than independently identify the best option?
  • Has the decision’s logic been aggressively challenged, preferably by the team’s Devil’s Advocate or a disinterested third party?
  • Was an event’s outcome prediction influenced by preceding events, especially if the event occurs independently?
  • Was an event’s independence thoroughly assessed or naturally assumed?
  • Were the event’s independence and the probability of its outcome calculated by an individual or group having in-depth knowledge and experience of statistics?

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[/wcm_nonmember]Additional Information

Additional insight to the warning signs, causes, and results of logic errors can be found in the StrategyDriven website feature: Decision-Making Warning Flag 1 – Logic Fallacies Introduction.