Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Who Done It for Business Decision Makers

It’s what separates the management from the staff, but decision-making responsibilities can stress you out or make you lose sleep and make you vulnerable to making the wrong decisions.

Author Hari Singh’s book, “Framed! Solve an Intriguing Mystery and Master How to Make Smart Choices”, wraps his solutions for managers in a mystery novel.

Singh teaches a course on decision-making to his MBA students at the Seldman College of Business at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. One reason that decision-making is so hard for some is that the decisions they make affect them too.

Singh presents an overview of three models for decision-making highlighted in his book.

• A woman is deciding whether to move her business to a new shopping mall because the downtown location is losing its luster. The owner lists the two options and gives favorable factors for each. Add the value of the factors up to decide which one is the best choice.

• Suppose there are other factors to consider with this same business. Perhaps the woman wants to sell the store or move to a suburban location. List the options horizontally and list the attributes vertically; give each attribute a numerical score. Multiply the score by the significance rating and tally the results below.

• Say the store owner has made a decision about the location, e.g.: the shopping mall. The challenge is to then identify: the objective, the main players (the landlord, work force, customers); the driving forces (growth of the area around the mall, the influence she can have such as community involvement and advertising) and project likely outcomes (will it work?).

• When you have an important decision take the necessary time to not only think about what you need to do, but to gain perspective. So many business decisions are made on the spur of the moment.

• If you ask the right questions you’re more likely to reach the right conclusions. Seek out viewpoints that you disagree with, get external options and develop ideas to adequately look at all possible options.

• Get new information.

If you take the time to review your options in a measured and considered way, you’ll make the right decisions and build a stronger business.

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