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What Is Your Experience with Decision Making Models

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“What is your experience with decision-making models?"

How do we, as leaders, make our decisions? After decades of pondering, no singular method on the subject exists. So how then does one know which method to choose or if the right choice has been made and why should we use one at all?

To answer these questions, I must refer to my personal experience on the subject. I have used a variety of decision-making tools, including PMI, SWOT, CBA, Decision-Trees, and MDPISA.

What are these tools? We have all used PMI; it is the quintessential Pro’s versus Con’s. It stands for plusses, minuses, and interesting. The “interesting” column captures the implications of making each decision. I have used this tool in almost every area of my life. It helps to see a problem rationally, without the distraction of emotions or ego.

SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. In my experience, this is often used by mass-market retailers and companies that sell to them. Strengths and weaknesses are used to analyze internal status, while opportunities and threats are used to analyze the external. I have used this tool in determining which of our strengths to market, weaknesses to remedy, opportunities to pursue , and threats to fortify our company against.

CBA stands for cost / benefit analysis. In my opinion, this is a requirement for any major corporate decision. I have seen projects begun without a full comprehension of the human-resource, equipment, and inventory costs involved. These typically end in cutting losses or moving forward at the expense of other objectives in the organization.

Decision-trees are designed to help managers map every outcome of every decision. I use these in creating corporate guidelines and policy, specifically in quality-control and customer-service manuals. It reduces independent decision-making by lower-level employees. While that sounds condescending, I have found it essential to protect the companies I work for.

My favorite is MDPISA. I use this versatile tool often for product-development. The core elements are mess-finding, data-finding, problem-finding, idea-finding, solution-finding, and finally acceptance. In a sea of copy-cats and “me-too’s,” charting a course for a truly innovative product can be difficult at best. I find this tool incredibly helpful in deciphering the market-status, competitive-landscape, brainstorming, product-viability,

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