Decision Making
(Extracted from the book "Airmanship")

Developed By: Abdullah Al-Helow
Doc.435 69 09

How to make better decisions .

When they make poor decisions it is often for the following reasons: They have used the wrong process for the situation. even though much of the process may be sub conscious. They have used the right process but incorrectly. What is decision making?   It is a conscious mental process that we use to choose the best option for a given situation. The decision becomes apparent to others when we take an action based on the choice we make. .

the importance of getting correct and adequate information before making the decision and where to get it. which is almost impossible to transfer to someone else verbally. and finally how to use the time available. Experienced pilots tend to have a large database of prior decisions to access. Also experts know which decision making process to use. Although not part of the decision making process. decisions can also . Expert and a Novice Decision making is the area where the greatest distinction between an expert and a novice is noticed.

Then there is normally a mnemonic associated with . The more time and importance. the more effort and care should be put into the decision. which is familiar in different forms to many pilots. The first step is to determine how much time is available to make the decision and how important it is. there is an overall process that can be used. Decision Making Process (1/3) Before going on to the specific choice processes.

Decision Making Process (2/3) D – Diagnose G – Gather information O – Options R – Review information D – Decide A – Analyse A – Assign &Action D – Decide R – Review decision E – Evaluate decision .

particularly by experts who have probably made the decision several times before in various forms. doubt or pressure to help the crew think in a structured manner. and also to explain the intuitive decision to someone less experienced after the event. a decision step. then an analytical step. they are useful in new situations. an action step and then finally a review step to monitor if the decision was correct. on all of these the key step. However. Decision Making Process (3/3) In practice these checklist type decision tools are not often consciously used. is not developed into much detail and it is this step where the main decision making processes take . Nevertheless. These normally include an information-gathering step. The process is also circular in that after review you go through it again. that of DECIDE.

1. Decision making ‘constants’ (1/6) There are some constants that surround the subject of decision making. Experience . Review 5. Risk 4. Information collection 2. Judgment 3.

Decision making ‘constants’ (2/6) Information collection In all the processes the correct information must be used whether this is done consciously or unconsciously. situation awareness and techniques for minimising fatigue or other physiological effects will ensure that the correct information is obtained. . Using communications.

using the same decision making process. In other words. or who will be elected. Decision making ‘constants’ (3/6) Judgment At various stages in all the decision making processes a person is making an assessment of the information they have and estimating the outcome. they will have to use their basic judgment of the facts in front of them. or what the stock market will do next week. to come to opposite conclusions. . It is not unusual for people of equal intellect and experience.30 race at Ascot. It is why we can never know who will win the 3.

In other words. Decision making ‘constants’ (4/6) Risk Similarly people with the same information. but still feel the best decision would be not to invest my 10 JOD. . decision making process and even judgment can often have a different attitude towards risk. I might agree with my friend that 5-1 are the correct odds for the horse.

. Decision making ‘constants’ (5/6) Review All decisions should be subject to continual review and of course further decision making if necessary.

somewhere. smelled. Experience is the sum total of everything we have seen. There are theories that all this information is still in our heads. Decision making ‘constants’ (6/6) Experience This is always going to have an influence on the way we make decisions and it is an area that is not easily understood. and thus it is a massive database of information. Nevertheless. as we are able to make sound decisions with no more guidance than a feeling we have. The problem that most of us have is trying to remember which file the information is stored in. tasted or felt. and how we can retrieve it when needed. Yet sometimes as . heard. experience assists us in strange ways. because unlike computers we do not have a delete function or the ability to reformat the brain.

. Group decision making (1/4) It is often easier to make decisions on your own rather than having to agree with someone else. One of the essential things for groups to agree on first is which process they should use. but joint decision making is a skill that crews must develop. Often the cause of conflict in group decision making is that the participants are using different processes.

Group decision making (2/4) Another key factor in group decision making is the validity of assumptions. . Many disagreements between people occur because the assumptions they are working from are different and they do not realise this is happening.

or judgements that the participants can more easily agree. it is often too late to get any agreement. . Group decision making (3/4) Once the argument is in full swing and the interpersonal conflict has overtaken any rational thought. It is therefore essential when trying to make group decisions that the participants also agree on the validity of their assumptions. These assumptions are generally based on facts that can be verified.

Group decision making (4/4) The final factor in group decision making is differing attitudes to risk. they may be less or more willing to take risks. . Even though all parties agree on the assumptions supporting each option.