When making decisions, it can be easy to make a snap judgement and run with it. This is perfectly valid and will sometimes work out just fine by pure pot luck. Sometimes however, this will lead to a trial and error approach. If you have not fully considered the problem and results of the decision then it may be that you have to re-assess later on. What things should you therefore include in your decision making process to help you make the correct strategic decision the first time round?

The first thing to consider is the problem itself. It is vital to ensure that you fully understand the problem and all its implications before attempting to make a decision. If you decide on a course of action and then find out that there were other factors that should have affected your decision which makes your solution ineffective then this is wasted time. Instead, look objectively at the problem and consider thoroughly all aspects. Do not feel like you must achieve this on your own. You may not have the skill set or experience to fully understand the problem. Ask your colleagues or team for help in understanding the problem. Begin by a brain storming session where everyone is invited to give views on the topic on an ad-hoc basis in a supportive environment.

Once the problem is full understood, consider who will be affected by your decision. Are there people that will need to take action in order to implement your decision? Are there people who will be affected by it such as with a change in working practices? All these people will need to be fully informed and possibly trained as a direct result of your decision. Part of making strategic decisions is achieving the best possible result with the least amount of effort and upheaval.

If you have several options to take, a good idea is to consider how many people will need to take action or will be affected by your decision. If for example, you have a choice to make a change that will achieve your result, but will only upset two members of staff, but the other choice would achieve the same result but would upset ten, then the choice would be obvious. The point is that unless you examine the possible results of your choice, you would not realise such things and may accidentally make the incorrect choice.

The next step would be to think about how you let everyone know about your decision and how it affects them? Some people may need further information or training and in order for a strategic decision to be carried out, you must give people the tools to do so. Will you email them, talk to them directly or use some other method?

It is important to remember that not all decisions are based around problems that require solutions. Some decisions will require a more simple approach and these decisions are usually the ones that do not impact other people. Analysis of the decision will give you a clearer idea on what kind of decision you need to make. If the decision only affects people in the short term then it will not require such strategic thinking as one that will have long term effects.