Fundamentals of Decision Quality

Learn the basic concepts for good decision-making to gain this essential life skill.

Improve your chances of getting more of what you really want by making better decisions. Whether a decision is good or bad depends on how we make it, not on the outcome. To be sure we reach a decision which makes sense and feels right, we need to understand the concepts of what makes a good, quality, decision. Making quality decisions consistently has a higher percentage of getting good outcomes.

Our Decisions Shape Our Lives

“Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” –John C. Maxwell

By making a decision, we choose to cut off one alternative future to pursue another. Our decisions shape our lives.

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Declaring a Decision

Stop to Consider: Claiming Decision Power

"Declaring" a decision is consciously creating the space for a choice--driving a wedge between stimulus and response.

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Distinguishing Types of Decisions

Understand the Decision Problem Before Plunging In

Three Types of Decisions

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Defining Decision Quality

Good decisions do not guarantee good outcomes, but, on average, consistently better decisions lead to consistently better outcomes.

The distinction between a good decision and a good outcome

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Decision Quality (DQ) Checklist

How Good Is This Decision if I Were to Make It Now?

This checklist is useful for rating the state of our decisions.

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The What and How of Quality Decisions

Our Purpose Is to Make a Quality Decision, and a Good Process Helps Us Meet This Purpose

We can judge the quality of a decision by the strength of the six DQ elements.

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Process for Making Quality Decisions

I Really Want to Get This Right

However, a good decision process will help us to face whatever it is that is most important in reaching the best choice, even if it takes effort or feels uncomfortable.

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Balancing Head and Heart

Decisions require both the head and the heart. Good choices result from a process of reasoning and caring. Good choices make sense and feel right.

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Know Yourself

Know Your Preferences, Strengths, and Weaknesses

Understanding our own preferences helps us to leverage our natural strengths as well as anticipate where we might want to work harder or seek help.

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Avoid Traps and Biases

Face It: We Are a Bunch of Quirks and Emotions

We all have biases that affect how we filter and interpret information.

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Become Decision Fit

Build Good Decision Habits

By applying the principles and process described here, we can reach DQ in a systematic manner. Although the approach is sound for all decisions, it is not practical for the many in-the-moment decisions where time is short. Some of these in-the-moment decisions can be life shaping—e.g., our response in emergencies or our choice to become a passenger with a driver that has been drinking alcohol. Also, the sum total of many small decisions, when taken together, may have a very big impact on our life.

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Keep Enhancing Your Decision Skills

Keep Sharpening Your Decision Skills

The decision process we recommend builds learning into making each specific decision: go through the decision—once quickly—not to decide, but to identify what you may be missing in the six links. Then, before you really decide, use that learning to improve the weakest elements in the decision.

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Decision Roles

Other People's Various Roles Affect Your Decisions

Dictatorial Permissive Authoritative Partner Coach

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Decision Process for Groups

How We Work Together Makes a Difference

Participants in decision-making may be serving in three distinct roles: decision-maker, decision staff, or content expert/implementer.

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