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Style Criteria

Choose the best decision making style for individual and managerial decision making

Do you want to make the best decision as fast as possible? Start by choosing the right decision making style. Consider the following criteria before you decide and you will improve your individual and managerial decision making by using the most appropriate decision style.

Available time

The time available to complete the decision making process for a specific decision is probably the most important criteria in choosing the most appropriate style. Be careful with this as it is the factor most manipulated to pressure a poor decision.

While it is desirable to get the positive consequences of a good decision as soon as possible, more time usually leads to a more effective analysis of the available information. In the majority of cases there is more time available for making a decision than first believed. While more time may be available, remember to be careful not to overanalyze the situation. This tends to lead to what is commonly called "analysis paralysis." Another problem to avoid is the tendency we all have to fill the available time.

Decision Value

Image showing decision valueIt doesn't make sense to spend a lot of time or effort on a $10 decision, nor too little effort on a million dollar decision. Try to assess the value of a decision's outcome and expect to spend 0.5 to 2 % of that value in making a good decision. A higher value decision will require a more consultative or collaborative decision making style.


Decision quality would consider how far the decision should go beyond meeting minimum requirements (e.g., satisficing). Expect to use a style that gets the wise counsel of others if you need to exceed known minimum requirements. The consequences can be grave if you do not get this right for decisions needing high quality.

Commitment to implementation

The bigger the challenge the greater the required level of commitment or acceptance from those implementing the actions resulting from the decision. Failure to implement the decision is a common problem for both individuals and corporations. Using an inclusive style can build acceptance and commitment to the execution of a decision.

Relationship Impact

Image conveying valued relationshipsImpact on valued relationships that can be influenced by the appropriate choice of decision style. It's rare that decisions sit in isolation. This is particularly true for governing bodies (such as a company board of directors) and political forums. Choose a style that maintains relationships and you might find the next decision a little easier to make.

Additional criteria

In addition to the factors above, the following criteria could influence your choice of decision making style. Prioritize these as appropriate based on the decision being made.

  • Constraints from the situation or decision environment that can influence the decision style
  • Options or alternatives that have the potential to lead to a positive outcome for the decision being made
  • The level of clarity available for understanding the needs of all the stakeholders or outcomes that will lead to a successful outcome from the decision
  • Bias or beliefs that may be effectively addressed through a choice of decision making style
  • Complexity of the decision being made

John Cale quote on decisions and time

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