Decision Making

In his book, Making Decisions, (1998), Robert Heller provides this interesting table describing types of
decisions and their implications.
Types of Decisions
Characteristics
Implications
Irreversible
The decision, once made,
cannot be unmade.
Commits you irrevocably
when there are no other
options.
Should not be used as an
all-or-nothing instant
escape from general
indecision.
Reversible
The decision can be
changed completely,
either before, during, or
after the agreed action
begins.
Allows you to
acknowledge a mistake
early in the process rather
than perpetuate it.
Can be used when
circumstances may
change, so that reversal
may be necessary.
Experimental
The decision is not final
until the first results
appear and prove  to be
satisfactory.
Requires positive
feedback before you can
decide on a course of
action.
Useful and effective when
correct move is unclear
but general direction of
action is understood.
Trial and Error
Taken in knowledge that
changes in plans will be
forced by what actually
happens in the course of
action.
Allows adaptation and
adjustment continually
before full and final
commitment.
Uses positive and
negative feedback before
continuing withtin a
particular course of action.
Made in Stages
After the initial step, further
decisions follow as each
stage of agreed action is
completed.
Allows close monitoring of
risks, as evidence
accumulates from
outcomes and obstacles
at every stage.
Permits feedback and
further discussion before
the next stage of the
decision is made.
Cautious
Decision allows for
contingencies and
problems that may crop up
later. Decision makers
hedge their bets.
Limits the risks inherent
in decision-making, but
also may limit the final
gains.
Allows you to scale down
projects that look too risky
in the first instance.
Conditional
Decision altered if certain
foreseen circumstances
arise. An "either/or"
decision, with options kept
open.
Prepares you to react if
the competition makes a
new move or if the game
plan changes radically.
Enables quick reaction to
changing circumstances.
Delayed
Put on hold until decision
makers feel the time is
right. Go-ahead given
when required elements
are in place.
Prevents making a
decision at the wrong time
or before all the facts are
known.
Opportunities requiring
fast action may be
missed.
Source: Heller, R. (1998). Making Decisions. New York: DK Publishing. 17.
Dr. Frank Kardasz  P.O. Box 45048 Phoenix, AZ 85064
e-mail:  
kardasz(at)kardasz.org

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