Decision Making: A method for making the right choices


Decision-making is not always easy. And in the current context, more uncertain than ever, knowing how to make a decision is an increasingly popular skill. However, this talent, rarely innate, can be learned and improved by following the right steps. This valuable skill is also readily shared in more horizontal organizations. Follow the leader.

Decision Making

Is decision-making a skill of the future?

Should we expect to see this skill emerge on future CVs? It’s not impossible… “ It’s a constant skill ,” analyzes Ibrahim Dufriche-Soilihi, partner consultant at Cegos. Having initiated a few training courses, I can tell you that most of the training themes that we offer are based on organizational study observatories, examining the problems that emerge within companies. In this regard, the question of decision today clearly concerns all stakeholders in organizations.  »

For a long time, in vertical organizations, only the "top" of the pyramid, i.e. a few managers, were concerned. Except that in this diagram, where the head is supposed to think, and where the base executes, lived. “  In more horizontal organizations, all employees must be able to master these decision-making mechanisms . In organizations more in project mode, in networks and in cross-functional management, everyone must know how to decide or make people decide. »

What are the benefits of decision making?

In the current context and world, more uncertain and complex than ever, knowing how to decide is obviously valuable, even essential. The benefits of decision-making, supported by solid and rapid thinking, are obvious to our expert.

“  The first benefit, in a transversal organization, is to contribute to producing formidable collective intelligence ,” notes Ibrahim Dufriche-Soilihi. Because everyone becomes much more involved once they have part of the answer to solving the problem, and therefore to making a decision. » This results in better group agility. “  A second benefit is the fluidity of exchanges . It is therefore more responsive, essential in a rapidly accelerating context. Indeed, today, it is no longer enough to be good. Responsiveness has become a performance indicator. »

Making a decision: how does it work?

But you still need to know how your brain works. Because the decision is a complex cognitive process, requiring an answer to a question to be given, taking into account a multitude of parameters. However, a decision is actually made in three key moments :

  • Understand that the time has come to question
  • Make the decision yourself,
  • Prepare to face the consequences.

“We must start from the principle that every individual has limited rationality. We are not 100% Cartesian. So the first step is to listen to your emotions  ,” explains Ibrahim Dufriche-Soilihi. We must learn to welcome feelings as diverse as fear, anger, sadness, frustration, disgust, desire or joy: so many emotions that will guide us towards a necessary decision.

“  We must decipher these emotions as clues that a decision must be made . Whether in an individual exercise or in a collective dimension, we must question what is at stake in this situation. Why does this situation give me such emotions? These emotions can alert me to both a risk and an opportunity. »

Then, it is up to each person to analyze whether it is up to them or someone else to engage in the decision-making process . “Once we are aware that there is a decision to be made, we fall back into more familiar patterns of rationality: we will have to examine the results that we can expect, the possible solutions and the actions to take, the possible obstacles and possible consequences. »

Why do many people fail to make a decision?

We understand better, then, why we can all, at one time or another, remain “frozen” in immobility. Consciousness and unconsciousness each have their seat in the brain. “  Making a decision is a process that is not self-evident ,” assures our specialist. To achieve this, we tend to rely on our “automatic” brain, as psychologist Daniel Kahneman reminds us. He distinguishes two systems. However, the first, lazy, is based on cognitive biases, that is to say limiting beliefs which will comfort me in reading a situation. »

Among the most familiar manifestations, certain emotions, such as the fear of failing or being judged, regularly prevent us from taking action. Without absolute certainty, we can also procrastinate and wallow in the myth of waiting for the "right time" and ideal conditions which may never arrive, or too late. “Really, all those emotions are part of the equation. If we don't analyze them, they paralyze us. In itself, making a decision is not complicated. What is difficult is to assume the possible consequences of a decision, especially if we involve a collective with strong socio-economic and ecological issues..."

What is the method that Cegos teaches in its training?

To train in decision-making, Cegos now offers a 5-step method.

1. “First of all, we must understand the basics of how our brain functions and listen to our unconscious,” explains Ibrahim Dufriche-Soilihi. Listening to your emotions allows you to move from the unconscious to the conscious and to understand that a decision must be made. »

2. “When I identify the decision, I ask myself whose decision it is. If it is up to me, I must analyze my room for maneuver and how I must organize myself to achieve my objective. »

3. “The third step is to explore the different possible solutions. This involves defining several options and deciding between them according to objective comparison and assessment criteria to make the most appropriate decision. »

4. “From there, you must be able to overcome your emotions such as the fear of failing, of being judged or of losing power. »

5. “Finally the fifth step, the “decision-action” goes beyond the solution chosen: we already imagine the obstacles, the consequences and the undesirable effects that it can cause, to better anticipate and overcome them. »

In what situations is it interesting to apply?

During training, he saw leaders, project managers or managers, often from very different sectors. To do what ? From recruitment to the delicate decision of a merger-acquisition, through the selection of a service provider to the choice of a marketing campaign: all situations, ultimately, benefit from such a method of reflection.

“  We can even apply it in our private life ,” smiles Ibrahim Dufriche-Soilihi. After all, as Albert Camus wrote, “we are the sum of our decisions.” Therefore, it is better to learn how your brain works. » While all employees may be interested, our expert recognizes that the skill is particularly valuable for anyone leading a team or collective. “Identifying certain obstacles, fears and prejudices in oneself also allows one to identify them in others and to overcome them during an interview with an employee. »

Why train in decision-making in general?

In a context where agility and responsiveness influence the functioning and even the sustainability of organizations, understanding the mechanisms of decision-making is not superfluous. “  This allows you to take the necessary directions save time and often money.  » However, our expert also sees another, liberating dimension. “We also understand that there is no perfect decision, just an option validated and assumed at a given moment.”

Moreover, by the way, nothing prevents you from deciding anything with this method. Or not immediately, but knowingly. “  Not making a decision is also a decision. You can also postpone a decision until later. But only from the moment when the benefit-risk has been carefully weighed in all cases.  » And always with method…