Sunday, 27 July 2014

Critical Decision Making - Can it Be Taught ?

There’s about three kinds of folks on this planet . Some learn by reading through about it . Some learn by observing others . And then there’s those that only have pee on the electric fence and also find out for themselves 

It is said that expertise is a hard instructor . It gives us the test first and also we learn the lessons after . When I think about critical decision making , the very first thing that comes to thought is experience . As I grow older , I understand that I have learned the majority of life’s lessons by “peeing on the electric powered fence” . I have been privileged enough to live to regret certain my decisions , as well as more fortunate to have discovered something useful from most of them .  I can look back and see many occasions that if I had only known then what I know now , I would have never allowed myself to be in that situation , or would have never allowed the circumstances to exist . Ignorance is bliss , until you are no longer ignorant , then it just gets really scary and you find yourself wondering “how did I ever live through that ?” 

So how do you truly establish sound critical decision-making skills ? I think it might be like putting 10 cardiologists in a room with one 12-lead EKG and requesting them to interpret it . You would possess 10 different interpretations , none of which are incorrect . It’s all in how you approach a choice , and for me my experience shape how I approach any specific decision . I don’t believe there is certainly one ‘silver bullet’ to give somebody this skill . There are many elements that influence how we help make choices , and it seems to me that if we are to develop this skill , we have to be able to identify at least the most influential elements and start there . After we identify these types of factors ( most of them probably human factors ) , then we are able to systematically break them right into whether they will have a positive or harmful impact on how decisions are made . The concept is to be able to educate and train individuals to make sound decisions ( if that is truly possible ) . Some individuals seem to have a knack in making sound decisions while some seem to have trouble with the concept . I have identified certain qualities in people that I have worked with over the years that I really believe are unique to the type of decision-maker they are . As a disclaimer , I am going to state that these are my personal observations only . Others may disagree in whole or in part , according to their experience and observations . 

High-quality decision makers : 

Are looking for excellence in all they do . Nothing less than excellence will do for them . Attention to detail . 

Wish to know everything there is certainly to know about a particular topic that will allow them to render an informed decision . Education , training , building knowledge base . 

Call upon the information and experience of other people around them to assist balance their own thoughts and feelings . 

Have a healthy respect of these things that they are not really acquainted with – know what it is that you don’t understand . Never get too comfortable . 

Sustain a healthy respect even for those items with which they have considerable information and experience – don’t get cocky . Over-confidence is a killer . 

Break a challenge down and prioritize their actions and also don’t get in a hurry . The really good ones can do this regardless of what the tempo of operations is at the time . 

Prepare yourself ahead of time and pre-plan where possible so that when a decision needs to be made quickly , many of the thinking about it is already done . You can make sound decisions on-the-fly .

Inadequate decision makers : 

Impulsive , very easily distracted . Can not or do not prioritize effectively . Leads to frustration , and impedes their capability to work under pressure . 

Not ready to take the time to think about the choice at hand . See #1 . 

Over-confident . I could do this . It won’t happen to me . 

Understand just enough to be harmful . Think they understand more than that they do and do not realize whatever it is that they are missing . 

Usually rely on their own experience and do not appreciate the knowledge and experience of others around them . 

Generally put emphasis on “doing something even if it’s wrong” rather than “doing the right thing” even if it’s doing absolutely nothing at that moment . 

When the stress is on , will nearly always fall back on most of the aforementioned qualities which usually guarantee failure . 

So , can easily good critical decision-making be taught since we would teach someone to tie their shoes ? Or may be it only something that can come as time passes and experience ? I think it is a combination of both of them . Education and training are an essential foundation to build on . Using education and training to cultivate good habits , and good decision making expertise is only enhanced by our experience along with the experience of others if we are ready to avail ourselves of it . A great attitude helps a lot as well . I think that some individuals in spite of years of training and experience basically never become high-quality decision makers because they simply don’t get it . My years of training and education as well as the experience along the way have given me a good base to build from . My individual experiences and learning from others experiences has only served to enhance my ability to make good decisions . In spite of this , I want to always observe that there is still much to learn in order to never get too comfortable with the very same way things are . I also would like to keep a healthy attitude toward making every decision as though my life depends upon it , because ultimately it does .

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