Decision-Making - Select

| Decisions | Guidelines | Default Option | Opportunity Cost |
| Need | Values | Search | CompareSelect | Implement | ReviewChange |

In the web page on comparing alternatives (Step 4),  the decision-maker evaluates all the alternatives that were developed while searching (Step 3) for all candidates that are likely to score well on the criteria (values - Step 2).   The default option is always one of the options evaluated to see how it compares with the newcomers.  The default option was formulated early in case a decision had to made quickly. With a default option pre-selected, the decision maker would not be stymied by indecision and could take immediate action if necessary.   With a reasonably good option readily available, the decision-maker can move confidently forward searching for even better choices to satisfy the original need.   

After the evaluation (compare - step 4), the decision-maker has more information for picking the alternative that will best satisfy the needs behind the decision.   The best alternative for satisfying the decision-maker's needs (identified in Step 1) is the one that scores the highest overall in satisfying the most important criteria (values - Step 2).   In effect, the criteria are a measurable representation of the decision-maker's needs.    Satisfying the criteria is tantamount to satisfying the decision-maker's wants and needs. 

If the decision-maker is comfortable with the alternative that scores the highest based on the comparative evaluation and is willing to make the investment in resources to implement the decision, THE DECISION IS MADE.    The decision-maker can move  to the next step in the decision-making process which is to devise an implementation plan.  

If the decision-maker is not comfortable with the highest scoring alternative, then this emotional discomfort may be an indicator of other criteria that have not been taken into account.  The decision-maker is still indecisive, they should begin asking questions of themselves.    What aspect about this alternative don't I like?   What am I afraid of losing by foregoing the other alternatives?   Have I identified all the rewards expected from this decision?   Are there costs or disadvantages to the high scoring alternatives that I have not taken into account.    Are the rewards not high enough relative to the costs of implementation?   If the decision-maker is not ready to commit to the highest-scoring alternative, then the decision making process continues by going back to earlier steps:
1. Is the scope of the decision too broad or too narrow?  Then shift scope.
2. Are all the criteria accounted for?  Add, modify, or reduce criteria based on the change in scope.
3. Are there more and better alternatives available?  Search for more alternatives.  Try to build-in to all alternatives the features the decision-maker likes the most.  
4. Were there any mistakes made in the comparisons?  Double check the calculations. 

The selection step is not complete until the decision maker is ready to implement the decision by committing all the resources required to implement it.  At this point, the decision-maker is checking to verify that they have identified an adequate or best-value alternative to satisfy the purpose of the decision (satisfying the decision-maker's wants and needs).  At this check point, the decision-maker either moves ahead to step 6 (implement) or goes back to repeat the previous steps.    If the decision-maker is not confident that they have found the best alternative, then they need to review the prior four steps.    The previous default option is replaced with the highest scoring alternative identified in the first round of the decision-making process.  All the alternatives that are judged to be clearly inferior or lesser desired than the new default option are set aside.   The search for more alternatives begins again.    The best way to find a good alternative is to generate many of them. Creativity, innovation, ingenuity, and cleverness are most important at this point to define new, and fundamentally different notions for satisfying the decision-maker's needs. .  

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Website last updated on 10/19/08
Copyright 2005 Charles W. Sooter.  All rights reserved.