Posted in leadership

Decision Making Tips


Decision-making practices with a good track record are commonly known but uncommonly practiced. Nearly everyone knows that participation prompts acceptance, but participation is rarely used. People fear a decision that can turn into a debacle, a decision riddled with poor practices producing big losses that become public.

The following tips can help leaders avoid the blunders and traps:

  1. Stay issue centered – The traditions of appreciative inquiry, discernment, and pausing to reflect help you stay issue centered. Appreciative inquiry places considerable emphasis on reflecting and making sense of what is heard, looking for what is most appreciated (what gives life to the issue) before doing anything else. To engage in the discernment treatment, you must let go of the quick fix, to set aside the urge to calm the chaos, to release the tension. Create a safe space in which freedom of choice is possible. Be open and listen to stakeholders. Avoid precipitous decisions. Look for deep feelings about what is right and listen to your inner voice.
  2. Use resources wisely – Make your decision-making investments wisely.
  3. Follow good practices – Best practices call for a discovery process that emphasizes process stages that have the greatest impact on success.
  4. Find an arena of action – Find possible arenas of actions from concerns and considerations of stakeholders.
  5. Manage forces that can block action
  6. Set Directions – The direction indicates the results wanted, guiding the search for ideas with an outcome in mind.
  7. Search widely for ideas
  8. Evaluate options
  9. Confront ethical questions
  10. Learn about missed opportunities


  1. Personally manage your decision-making efforts
  2. Make ethics an ongoing consideration
  3. Uncover the arena of action
  4. Deal with barriers to action
  5. Establish your direction with an objective
  6. Stress political and logical rationality
  7. Identify more than one option
  8. Insist on learning





Dr. Sheila Embry is a govie, author, pracademician, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend who loves to read, write, think, and laugh. Many of her blog postings are summaries or excerpts of books that she read and wants to share to encourage others. An author with more than 25 years experience within the legislative and executive branches of the U. S. federal government holding 3 accredited degrees: Doctor of Management in Organizational Leadership, Master of Arts in Human Resources Development, and Baccalaureate of Business Administration, she believes in continuing learning both on and off the job. She has been recognized with multiple professional and writing awards for her peer-reviewed, publications. Click the bibliography page above for a listing of all the publications.

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