Effective Decision-Making: How to make better decisions under uncertainty and pressure by Edoardo Binda Zane


Free 2/21/2016 - 2/26/2016!

The aim of this book is to quickly empower you to make better decisions by giving you step-by-step explanations of the best techniques.

We always make decisions under uncertainty and pressure, especially in business. We need faster and better decisions to cope, but we don’t have the time to learn how to make them well. That is where I come in. I wrote this book to allow you to make better decisions without spending weeks studying theory and practice.

THE INTRODUCTION gives you a snapshot of two decision-making biases, of the worst mistake you can do when making decision, and a lesson taken straight from philosophy.
Decision Biases (why your brain isn’t always your friend in decisions)
The Worst Mistake in Decision-Making
A Lesson From Another Time

THE FIRST CHAPTER looks at frameworks of reference, meaning how you can apply decision-making to achieve your goals, for example how and why some decisions are able to automatically give you a competitive advantage. Frameworks of reference are ways to describe our brains’ processes when making decisions: knowing them allows us to focus on the process we need the most or to quickly identify what tool can give us the best results and why.
This will not make your decisions better, but it will help you use your decision-making skills at their best .
The OODA Loop
The Recognition-Primed Decision Model
GROW or the John Whitmore Model
The PDSA Cycle

CHAPTERS 2 TO 5 look at separate phases of decision-making: understanding your context, understanding the problem, generating solutions and selecting one option out of many.

2 - Context
Whenever you make decisions you need to be fully aware of your role and the role of all other actors, as well as of what could be coming to you. Contexts can be very different – and there is no one size fits all approach, which is why this book provides you with five.
Porter’s Five Forces
Causal Loops Diagrams

3 - Problem assessment
Simply put: if you don’t know where to focus your decision efforts, your decisions will not bring you anything. Before making decisions, then, you need to work on finding out exactly what you are trying to solve. This chapter gives you 5 tools to do so:
Root Cause Analysis: Ishikawa’s Diagramand the 5 Whys Technique
Pareto Analysis
Kipling Method (5W1H)

4 - Generating ideas
In “pure” decision-making, little attention is given to this phase, as it belongs to a different field: creativity.  It would be foolish to push creativity science in a chapter of a decision-making book, but to avoid it completely this book includes I two tools that can work fairly well:
Zwicky’s Box

5 - Weighing alternatives
This is one of the cores of decision-making, and phase most people deal with via a pros and cons list. Basically you are asking: “now that I have a few solutions, which one will be my decision?”
This book gives you several tools to make that decision: from simple criteria setting and voting to highly complex decision-making methods.
Each one has its pros and cons (level of detail, complexity, time…) – and with six to choose from, you should be covered for your decisions.
Weights and Factors: the Grid Analysis and the KT Matrix
The Paired Comparison Analysis
The Quantitative Strategic Planning Matrix
The Analytic Hierarchy Process
The Eisenhower Matrix

CHAPTER 6 AND 7 look at group decisions, meaning whether it’s a good idea to make decisions in a group and, if it is, how that group should make decisions.

6 - Do you need your team?
You can either involve your team in decisions (stronger spirit, cohesion) of exclude them (faster decisions). Often managers are torn between these two options – luckily you have three tools to help you make that decision: each one deals with the same problem, but from a slightly different perspective.
The Vroom-Yetton-Jago Model
The Hoy-Tarter Model
The Hersey-Blanchard Model

7 - Group Techniques
When making decisions in a group is necessary and there are seven tools to help you deal with that.
The Nominal Group Technique
The Delphi Method
Hartnett’s Consensus-Oriented Decision-Making Model
The Stepladder Technique
DeBono’s Six Thinking Hats
The Charette Procedure

CHAPTERS 8 AND 9 look at decisions in more specific areas: corporate strategy design and analysis of consequences / impact.

8 - Corporate Strategy
These decision tools have all been developed by large consultancies to make strategic decisions based on company expertise, profitability, market attractiveness and comparative advantage. These tools are very niche-specific but the concepts they are based on still hold value for smaller businesses and organisations.
The BCG Matrix
The Advantage Matrix
The GE Matrix
Blind Spot Analysis

9 – After your decisions
In other words: “how can I make sure that the decision I made is the best one and will work in my specific situation?”
Unfortunately nobody can answer this. Any decision method can only skew the odds of having made the right decision in your favour. That said, there are a few techniques you can apply to see for yourself how likely it is that your proposed solution gives you the results you want. Two of those are very complex and are just mentioned.

Impact Assessment
Plus-Minus-Interesting Analysis
Decision Trees
Cost-Benefit Analysis
Futures Wheel