Action Wheel Leadership

Types of Decision Making



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Types of Decision Making

We're pleased to explore types of decision making with you. This is a subject we know well, and we are expert in helping individuals and organizations improve their skill and competency in this important area. Making decisions is a core concept of the Action Wheel leadership model described in Dr. Robert Terry's book Authentic Leadership: Courage In Action. 

The Challenge of Decision Making

 The challenge inherent to decision making is that it is a multi-dimensional process. Meaningful decisions must take numerous considerations into account:

  1. The types of decision making must reflect the reality of who you and your organization are at the same time as they reflect the reality of the environment that you operate within.
  2. Different stakeholder groups operate from different value perspectives.

When making decisions, we usually want others to behave according to our personal standards and values, yet we seldom take the time to determine how their standards and values differ from our own. For example, it is reported that women use love and responsibility as central criteria for decision making, in contrast to men, who stress freedom and justice.

Sound decision making is essential as it is the impetus for taking action and energizing the mission of the organization, yet the decision making process in your organization may be vague or undefined. The scope that must be considered when making a decision gets larger and larger as you move up an organization. The skills that worked for making decisions lower in the organization may not be adequate for making them at higher levels in the organization.

It is essential to balance the timeliness of the decisions with the need to engage people to gain their buy-in, recognizing that individual motivation is highest when they are involved in decisions that relate directly to their well-being. When people make their own decisions through a group decision making process, power and freedom are equated.

While there are many decision making styles possible, decisions are better advanced by frequent competition among ideas than by authoritative mandates from above. The need to not just make the decision, but to execute the decision to achieve the intended results, so you overcome inaction and get things done. Recognize that equal opportunities are energized only by decision and its related commitment. You need to ensure overall fairness in the decisions made.

Your organizational structure, policies, procedures, and operational systems play a major role in how any given decision will be processed through the organization, at times with indeterminable results. Oftentimes, decisions are forced on a system without an understanding of how the system works. Your decisions must reflect the availability of resources needed to execute the decision.

Collaborative Decision Making Case Study

How We Can Help: 
AWL Decision Making Tools and Services

  • Our View-to-Values Assessment provides insight as to what default values your people adopt when faced with making decisions. This provides your leadership team with awareness as to how the different members of the team approach decision making differently.
  • Our Action Wheel Assessment identifies what your leadership team thinks is really going on, and provides breakdowns by individual facets to pinpoint areas of greatest stress.
  • Our Leadership and Alignment Workshops are teaching decision making while focusing on resolution of issues important to you.
  • Our Alignment Program provides you with the mechanisms to actively engage your staff from top to bottom to align action with your decisions.
  • Further exploration of the facets of decision making theory to provide you with depth related to each of the challenges given above.

Related Links:

Teaching Problem Solving Skills

Action Wheel Assessment

Authentic Action Wheel

Ethics in Leadership

Leadership Assessment Tools

Action Wheel Leadership Home Page

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