Why Good Decisions are Hard to Make (Part 1)

What is a difficult decision that you needed to make recently?

There are any number of reasons why a decision might be difficult…

  1. The problem lacks structure, and it’s not clear what the distinct options are or what the possible outcomes may be
  2. There is no quantifiable data that can be used to create a rigorous analysis
  3. There is too much data – which leads to contradictions or confusion
  4. After going through a logical process of reasoning, the conclusion seems counterintuitive. Should you believe the results?
  5. Not able to reach consensus among multiple decision-makers

In the last fifty years, the field of decision analysis has emerged as a viable technique for structuring problems so that they can be analyzed through a well-defined process (c.f., Big Sky Associates).

The science of decision analysis makes it a mathematical problem of solving an equation to find the right answer; however, there still remains an art: clarifying ambiguous problems and creating consensus among stakeholders.

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