Decision making, a cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or a course of action among several alternative possibilities. Why is decision making important? It is important to achieve the organisational goals/objectives within given time and budget. Decision making is all about making choices by identifying a decision, gathering information and assessing alternative resolutions. It has become one of the most important skills the employers require from their employees. With the improvement in technology and an increased amount of automation with the impending impact of artificial intelligence, decision making is going to be data-driven in the future of work.
The machines can process information and provide insights impossible for humans to gather, however, humans will make decisions taking into consideration most of the implications their decision might have on other areas of the business, personnel and other people. Humans will have to do more high-level decision-making because it will become more complex in the future workplace. Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation will also contribute to the future of work and assist employees to be able to make good decisions for them to thrive in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. According to the World Economic Forum, decision making and judgment is one of the top 10 skills required by 2020 as shown in the image below:
A business will always plan their strategy based on data and analysis in the future of work. This is derived from the data they would have collected throughout time which is analysed and aids them in making appropriate decisions. However, people will still be needed to make the most important calls and analyse how each decision will affect the business as a whole. Hence, the ability to understand and analyse data to make the right decisions based on those findings with good judgment is a skill that is required in employees in the future of work. This skill can be developed over time and it is fundamental for one to thrive in the future of work. There is a need to leverage data-driven insights, predictive analytics and other applications of computational power which can bring businesses decisions to greater accuracy and precision.
Generally, the nature of work is changing with the new advanced technology of machine learning and artificial intelligence as the next generation of Industrial automation (Industry 4.0), these are the key emerging trends. However, the ability to derive actionable insights from transforming this vast information using these technologies will be key. You do not need to know how to use machine learning or artificial intelligence on its own, but being able to pass good judgments based on the results from the analysis of the data will be crucial.
The fact on the ground is that automation has been replacing employees for quite a while now therefore there is a need to re-purpose and re-train as an employee to stay relevant and operate in this data-driven world. This is the reason why you need to take note of the future of work skills that will be required to stay relevant and thrive even when some jobs are being replaced by machines. The good thing is that some skills cannot be replaced with machines, which include decision making. Artificial intelligence is brightening up the future of work for decision-makers and making their lives easier.
Decision making is a skill which can be developed over time. To ensure you are making well-informed decisions, there is a step by step checklist which can be used to help employees to ensure they are making the right decisions based on the insights and information they have. The steps are as follows:
- Define the problem, challenge or opportunity – this is the initial stage of the decision-making process. The ability to identify a problem is key as the problem can be internal or external and has to be identified before taking any decision. Here an employee can use his/her knowledge, skills, experience and collect information. This is the most crucial part of decision making.
- Generate an array of possible solutions or responses – the development of alternative solutions in the future of work will be easy since some of these come from the data-driven insights and predictive analytics using the emerging trends of machine learning and artificial intelligence. It is also important to analyse these alternative solutions if they are the right way to handle the identified problem.
- Evaluate the costs and benefits associated with each option – the decision-maker must evaluate the different solutions they have, weighing their cost to the beneficial effect on the business.
- Select a solution or response – This is identifying and selecting the best solution amongst the available solutions taking into consideration the long term and short term impacts that comes with it.
- Implement the option chosen – after identifying and recommending a decision as to the best decision, the solution should be converted into action. There is a need to communicate with other employees and manage the various resources required in the implementation of the solution.
- Assess the impact of the decision and modify the course of action as needed – a review of the implemented decision is critical and it is the final step in the decision making process. Feedback has to be given by stakeholders and if it is positive that means the decision-making process was successful.
There are different types of decision-making skills which are:
- Emotional intelligence
- Logical Reasoning
The critical skill in decision making is not learning techniques but in knowing how and when to apply the basic principles and in constantly re-evaluating and improving methods. If you are a part of consistently achieving good results that shows you are making good decisions. To stay relevant in the future or work take advantage of these skills and develop yourself.
Kudzai Derera is the Business Systems Manager at Industrial Psychology Consultants (Pvt) Ltd, a management and human resources consulting firm.
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