Sunday, April 10, 2011

Effective Decision Making: The Art of Realization and the Elements of Knowing

Effective decision making is a learned skill that comes from past and present experiences. Decision making stems from what we have realized and what we know as a result of realizing. When making a decision, it is very important to understand the difference in the factors of realization and knowing. These factors play an important role in the process because the decision will be based on previous moments of realization which have now become bits and pieces of knowledge.

Realizing is the ‘aha’ moment. It is the moment, when we acknowledge that we have discovered something new. Failure helps us have ‘aha’ moments. When we fail we have realized that we made an error, and we should know not to repeat that same mistake or we will fail again. Realizing is also when you acknowledge something that may have already been visible, but you never noticed its presence. How many times have you watched the same movie over and over again, and you always notice something different? The movie hasn’t changed, but your thought patterns have; the same movie that you have watched countless times has caused your brain to see things in a different parameter. Then comes the ‘aha’ moment.

Knowing is the information that we already have stored in our memory bank. It is a collection of data, inferences, facts, etc. that came the moment we realized its existence. The elements of knowing are stored up information that came from realization.

Here are some examples of how to use the art of realization to make effective decisions:

 Realizing that you have figured out a new feature in a computer software program
Knowing how to use that feature to be more productive and produce quality documents

 Realizing that your supervisor is not a morning person
Knowing to schedule meetings in the afternoon

 Realizing that Mondays are the busiest day of the week at work
Knowing to plan your schedule accordingly, especially when working on big projects

So, the key is to have more moments of realization. Here are some ways to have more frequent moments of realization to increase your knowledge base which will result in better decision making:

1. Make a commitment to learn something new each day.
2. Learn from your mistakes and others.
3. Become more observant.
4. Do not be afraid of failure.
5. Use active listening skills.

Understanding how to use the information that you have come to realize is a major step in the process of decision making. Effective decision making requires specific thought patterns that process information that was once realized and is now a known element.

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