Decision-Making: 3 Approaches to Help You Make “The Right” One!

Ciara McDonnell
By | Updated March 8, 2017 | 4 min read
Decision Making

Decision-making is hard. I put my hands straight up and admit, I am one of those people who always want to make “the right” decision. How do you make the right decision?


Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions. – Mark Twain


But how many people want to admit this – who wants to make a bad decision? The quote above is one I have to remind myself about, every time I have a big decision to make! Decision-making is a task that faces us every day, through personal decisions and professional decisions.

For this part of my post, I will be referencing one of the newly added chapters to the Collaborative Project Management Handbook, Second Edition – Make Good Decisions.

Making good decisions is a key part of project management and furthermore, making transparent decisions with your team is a critical part of collaborative project management. Project teams are staffed with intelligent team members from a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines who expect to be involved in the decision making of a project.

With this, decision points occur at all five stages of collaborative project management. As a project manager, you need to merge knowledge and experience of project management practices with the specific context of your team, the project, and also, mature decision making approaches.


Decision Making – Using Your Gut

Most of our decisions are made on gut instinct in a matter of seconds and usually less than a minute. This is the most common way to make a decision. Sometimes you just know the right decision and the right course of action is obvious. If you know, you know! And if you are right, then you have nothing to worry about.

But what if you are wrong? Be courageous, flexible, and open enough to reverse the decision if it is wrong.

Stay committed to your decisions but stay flexible in your approach. – Tony Robbins



Decision Making – A Holistic Approach

Truly successful decision making relies on a balance between deliberate and instinctive thinking. – Malcom Gladwell

This holistic decision-making process is as follows:

  1. Remember the privilege of choice
  2. Frame the decision
  3. Start with indifference
  4. Continue with a head/logical decision
  5. Confirm with a heart decision.


A tip from the author on this point: do not make an important decision when you are feeling bad. You may well make a very poor decision. Wait until you feel better. Check out these elements explained in full, in the new Collaborative Project Management Handbook, Second Edition


Decision Making – With the Group

Most discussions of decision making assume that only Senior Executives’ decisions matter. This is a dangerous mistake. – Peter Drucker

What comes to mind when you think of group decision making? Chaos, constructive conflict, disagreements – s sample of the words which may come to mind! You want and need to involve your team in making creative and solid decisions but you need an approach, a process. Here is a sample agenda for such a group session;

  1. Agree the Aim (e.g. what do we aim to decide)
  2. Brainstorm in a Blue sky manner
  3. Critique with lots of Constructive Conflict
  4. Discuss and make good Decisions.


Decision Making


As mentioned throughout the post, I referenced the information above from the Collaborative Project Management Handbook, Second Edition – this book outlines the tools, resources, and leadership needed to deliver projects collaboratively. It describes the stages required for successful collaborative project management and also addresses the critical topics of personal and situational leadership.


Ciara McDonnell
Ciara McDonnell

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