8 Step-by-Step Process in Decision making

To marry or not to marry? That is the question.

Even the famous British naturalist, Charles Darwin, applied the decision making techniques in coming up with his selection.
The question was not whether to marry or not his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood. He already had chosen who to marry. He was trying to deliberate whether or not to marry her. The consanguinity was out of the question.

He listed

After April 7, 1838
If marry – means limited, feel duty to work for money. London life, nothing but society, no country, no tours, children (if it please God), constant companion (& friend in old age), home, & someone to take care of house . . .

July 1838
If not marry – Travel. Europe, yes? America???? If I travel it must be exclusively geological United States, Mexico Depend upon health & vigour & how far I become Zoological. If I dont travel.— Work at transmission of Species— Microscope simplest forms of life— Geology. ?.oldest formations?? Some experimets [sic] — physiological observation on lower animals. Those are some of the entries in his journal. Evidence of his listmaking habit.


Are you guided by a structure, go with your gut, do as told, or follow the majority?
As a leader, it is imperative one has to develop decision making skills.
A study on 500 executives and managers revealed 98% fail to apply the best practices in making decisions.
While in another three-month study of 100 managers, those who applied best practices in making decisions achieved their expectations 90% of the time and 40% exceeded expectations.
The research further says that “businesses which follow a decision making checklist make 75% better decisions twice as fast, with half as much meeting and 20% better performance.”


Defining a problem

What is the problem that needs to be solved? State the problem specifically for clarity.
Let’s use Darwin’s case as an example. To marry or not to marry? It is not, to marry Emma or Jane?
This first step is critical in the decision making process because this is what will give clear direction to your process.

In the first place, is there really a problem?

An unnamed head of the Industrial Engineering Department in Yale University said, “If I had only one hour to solve a problem, I would spend up to two-thirds of that hour in attempting to define what the problem is.”

Classifying the problem

Is the problem a unique situation, an exemption to the rule or recurring? Problem classification also establishes urgency, helps identify the right people capable of handling the situation (sales, marketing, manufacturing, human resources, finance, logistics), and can rate priority based on the impact on your business.

Research and data gathering

In the olden times, people made decisions based on gut-feel, intuition and experience. And in some cases, like Charles Darwin, on a pros and cons list. But in this AI and SpaceX age, data analytics plays a crucial role in problem-solving.
Management or decision-makers, for that matter, will need supporting data to enable them to make informed decisions. Do not attempt to proceed without any data. But not just any data, only quality data – correct and complete.
Insufficient and incorrect data will mislead and make your succeeding steps of no value.
Several data analytics tools are available to enhance problem-solving processes and make the process faster.
As Clive Humby said, “data is the new oil.” Because with the right processing, analysis, use and application, that processed data will be powerful and of greater value to your business and operation.

Evaluate data and options

After the completeness and soundness of the data are checked and verified, it is time for the team to evaluate.
Aside from the data on hand, it is critical to bring in key people to provide their expertise on the subject. In some companies, this team is called the Focus Group Team, where selected individuals from different departments, related to the problem, are brought in to provide their perspective, insights and experience on the subject.
The Focus Group team provides a holistic approach in resolving an issue, and brainstorming is a process that is employed to generate the best option for the issue. The team, however, is abolished after the problem has been resolved.

Select the best option

When analysis of data has been completed and all possible options have been presented, it is time for management or decision-makers to choose the best option.
In some big companies, the Focus Group team is empowered to decide and implement the best option.

Develop a plan for implementation

After management or the decision-makers have chosen the best option for the company, a GANTT chart is prepared to state in detail the timeline (steps and schedule of implementation).


The second to the last step in the decision making process is the execution of the solution.
The team should ensure that the roll-out is managed as planned, and any deviation should be reported immediately to the team.

Feedback, review, and evaluate

The process does not end with implementation. It is necessary to reconvene for a post-event meeting.
Review the consequences of your decision. What was effective, what needs revision, what needs improvement, what did you miss in the process, etc.?
Your successful implementation can be a template for a similar situation in the future.


Making the right decision is a skill. And as a skill, it needs enhancement to ensure proficiency.
Proficiency then yields confidence. Also, recognise that decisions should be guided by facts, not emotions, and because of this, a leader with high emotional intelligence has the right ingredient to start with.
No leader should rush into making a decision. Any decision that will have an enormous repercussion on a company’s bottom line cannot be hasty.
The same thing with marriage. It is a life-long commitment. How can you rush into it?
Charles Darwin, who decided in favour of marriage, proposed seven months after his first deliberation on marrying or not his first cousin, Emma Wedgwood. They stayed married for 43 years until his death.
If you want your team to be oriented to the concept of decision making in leadership, you can send me a message and let’s talk.