Decision-Making Model Analysis: 7-Step Decision-Making Process Decision making is defined as "the cognitive process leading to the selection of a course of action among alternatives" (Decision Making, 2006, para. 1). Decisions are made continually throughout our day. For the most part, our decision-making processes are either sub-conscious or made fairly quickly due to the nature of the decision before us. Most of us don't spend much time deciding what to have for lunch, what to wear, or what to watch on television. For other, more complex decisions, we need to spend more time and analyze the elements of the decision and potential consequences. To assist with this, many people employ the use of a decision-making model. Utilizing a model can serve as a guide for the steps to take in working through an issue to reach a conclusion, but the ability to think critically is crucial in executing the guidelines of the model. One such model is the 7-Step Decision-Making Model. The 7-Step Decision-Making Model was developed by Rick Roberts, director of the University of North Florida's career services department (Roberts, 2006). Though originally intended to guide students through the process of choosing their area of study, and eventually their ultimate career path, it can also be applied to other decisions, both related and unrelated to career exploration. The emphasis with this model is that in order to be effective, the individual faced with a decision must be armed with as much information as possible, and that following the steps in the model will allow for the organization and structure to process and identify critical pieces of information. As the name states, the model consists of seven steps that guide the user through the decision making process.
Step One: Identify the Decision to be Made
Evaluate the issue at hand and identify the core decision to be made. This sounds easy, and many times is, but the core decision can sometimes become clouded in the muddle of other issues that may be surrounding the root of the decision.
Critical thinking should be applied to this first step by eliminating pitfalls that can occur, especially if the decision is one whose ultimate outcome is impacted by emotional forces as well as factual information. In my case, I was offered a job to become the Executive Director of another non-profit organization in my community. With this offer, came a flood of emotional initial reactions from me, both positive and negative. In order to make the right decision for me, I had to isolate the ultimate issue. The decision I had to make was if I wanted to leave my current organization and accept the new position. Step Two: Know Yourself
Once the decision has been defined, the second step in the process is to perform a self-assessment. There are four sub-categories for the self-assessment: Skills, Interests, Values, and Personality. This requires critical thinking because the self-assessment must be done as honestly as possible and only information that has relevance to the decision at hand should be included. When assessing myself in relation to my decision at hand, I need to be able to separate only the types of skills and traits that apply directly to the decision, and omit factors that do not apply. Critical thinking also gives me a tool to judge myself in the most objective way possible. As much as I would like to tell you that I am the easy going, go with the flow, flexible and happy-go-lucky type of girl, I know that is often not the way I behave at work. I can be seen as rigid and inflexible due to my desire for order, organization, and strict adherence to guidelines. While some view my ability to organize and keep order as a positive trait, and it is working very well for me in my current position, I need to ask myself how it will be viewed in the new position.
Another important element of the self-assessment is the examination of your values. There is a huge part of me that...
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