When describing our decision making model, it is necessary to clarify that we are not talking about a specific decision making technique. Our model supports multiple techniques and underlies our decision making process.
The model is captured in two levels and has five fundamental purposes. At the highest level, we capture the "Decision Network" (right side of graphic below) and at the next level we capture all the information associated with a specific decision (a portion of which is shown on the left side of the graphic below).
The purpose of this two level model is:
Our model of decision making characterizes a decision as a way to convert people's needs and desires into preferred outcomes. It contains three parts that serve the ultimate goal of creating the best possible decision outcome. These include:
The model above (on left side of graphic) indicates that the goals (source requirements) that will drive this specific "Choose Next Career" decision come from other higher level related decisions (Personal Vision, Mission Statement, Core Beliefs, ...). These goals (source requirements) are mapped to specific needs/desires (musts/wants), turning them into objective criteria that will ultimately be used to pick from the possible solutions (alternatives).
Once the current decision has a clear "Problem/Opportunity" definition as defined above, the right side of the decision model can now be exposed. It is important that multiple alternatives be considered (Alt 1, Alt 2, ...). Potential solutions (alternatives) should be adequately characterized to make it understandable and clear to all decision participants.
Once one or more preferred solutions are selected, there are additional pieces of information that must be captured. These include:
For high value decisions, the model shows additional elements that may be explored before making the final choice. These include:
The decision analysis and alternative selection elements capture how each solution performs against each criterion (solution performance) and the overall rationale for the chosen solution. The flexibility of this model allows for the use of the best decision making technique for the type of decision being made.
Time is a very powerful element of our decision making model. The graphic above shows how each decision will go through a series of states, and those states can be visualized as a decision timeline or roadmap. A powerful aspect of this concept is that the "Decision Network" model stays constant, while the choices within any one decision change over time. We can now manage change by managing decisions, since decisions are the true source of all change we can control.
Now you can see the entire decision making model for a specific decision (above) within the overall decision network model (to the right). Goals (requirements) become the main connectors between decisions across the decision network model. Goals (Target requirements) from one decision become the goals (source requirements) of the connected decisions. With these connections, knowledge is created and can now flow between related decisions allowing change across the decision network model to be managed.
We use this model as the basis to provide decision making solutions across personal, business, and consumer decisions. Some of the benefits of building on this model include:
Issues are a constant in most people's lives. If they are not managed, they will become disruptive and defocusing. However, issue is an ambiguous term that is used to describe a problem, a requirement, a need, a criterion, a risk, an opportunity, or a defect. Our decision making model eliminates this confusion by forcing a distinction to be made so that the information is mapped to the appropriate decision element. Issues are not part of the explicit model, since they must be captured as a decision element.