Friday, October 12, 2007

Decision making: a quiz

How's your German?

I've written multiple times about decision making, because it's important in business (it's important in life, too, but I'm writing about business here). Sometimes it's good to test one's insights against criteria set by others.

I just took the Entscheider-Test (Decision-maker Test) at manager-magazin. The result?

Sie sind ein Topentscheider!

Sie haben 23 von 24 möglichen Punkten erreicht.

Sie sind ein mit allen Wassern gewaschener Entscheider, der sich von niemandem mehr etwas vormachen lässt.

I feel good! Had I done worse, though, I wouldn't necessarily have felt bad; I would have used the time to review what I answered differently than was given in their solutions, and, whether I decided they were right or I was right, I would have learned.

This test, done by manager-magazin and Kai-Jürgen Lietz, author of Das Entscheider - Buch, seems based firmly in the rational decision-making model (I haven't read the book yet; I'm taking that from the questions and answers). That means it's from the same general philosophical thread as the Kepner-Tregoe approach. I took a week-long Kepner-Tregoe course years ago and have found it very helpful in my work, even as I try to incorporate other decision-making tools in my professional toolbox, so I'll keep an eye on Lietz' blog to see what I can learn.

As I was searching to find that test again, I found Die Deutschen und der Tunnelblick with the intriguing lead sentence, "Sind unsere Entscheider Fachidioten?" ("Are our decision-makers technical idiots?"). It's an interesting article for those who wish to compare attitudes in Germany, France, the U.K., and the USA on how managers get the education they need.



Blogger kjlietz said...

Thanks for the nice review. Personally I think that Kepner-Tregoe is a good system for a lot of decision situations. But it is also very technical.

I am convinced that a good decision is made if you answered three questions before:
1. What is it exactly what I want?
2. How can I find attractive alternatives to reach what I want?
3. How can I find the highest possible support with other people to implement my decision?

For any given situation you have to find you own approach. And one thing is for sure. There is nothing like a rational decision making because in any given decision you have to evaluate the alternative in respect to you criterea. And any evaluation dependes on your emotions. :-)

The subject of "Das Entscheider-Buch" is about fifteen different decision making traps I found over the years by coaching my clients.

14 October, 2007 14:36  
Blogger Bill Harris said...

Thanks for stopping by!

You are right: Kepner-Tregoe can be technical. Then again, I once found Saaty's Analytical Hierarchy Process, and it makes Kepner-Tregoe seem qualitative and subjective.

What I like about Kepner-Tregoe is their emphasis on starting decision making with a goal and then listing alternatives, not starting with
two alternatives and listing pros and cons. That seems to match the first two items you list.

Your third item sounds like it may contain two parts; I'm not sure which you mean (or perhaps you mean both). Certainly deciding on an alternative that has sufficient support for implementation is important; that likely is one of the criteria for selecting among alternatives.

Once you've made your decision, then enlisting others in support of its implementation is also very important. That can bring in the whole "change management" side of organization development.

I do agree with your comment that evaluation depends upon emotions. When we don't consider both our emotions and those of those we're working with, we ignore important data.

Your book sounds interesting; I'll have to put it on my to-read list. Thanks again.

15 October, 2007 10:03  

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