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Decision Quality

Book Description

Add value with every decision using a simple yet powerful framework

Few things are as valuable in business, and in life, as the ability to make good decisions. Can you imagine how much more rewarding your life and your business would be if every decision you made were the best it could be? Decision Quality empowers you to make the best possible choice and get more of what you truly want from every decision.

Dr. Carl Spetzler is a leader in the field of decision science and has worked with organizations across industries to improve their decision-making capabilities. He and his co-authors, all experienced consultants and educators in this field, show you how to frame a problem or opportunity, create a set of attractive alternatives, identify relevant uncertain information, clarify the values that are important in the decision, apply tools of analysis, and develop buy-in among stakeholders. Their straightforward approach is elegantly simple, yet practical and powerful. It can be applied to all types of decisions.

Our business and our personal lives are marked by a stream of decisions. Some are small. Some are large. Some are life-altering or strategic. How well we make those decisions truly matters. This book gives you a framework and thinking tools that will help you to improve the odds of getting more of what you value from every choice. You will learn:

  • The six requirements for decision quality, and how to apply them
  • The difference between a good decision and a good outcome
  • Why a decision can only be as good as the best of the available alternatives
  • Methods for making both "significant" and strategic decisions
  • The mental traps that undermine decision quality and how to avoid them
  • How to deal with uncertainty—a factor in every important choice
  • How to judge the quality of a decision at the time you're making it
  • How organizations have benefited from building quality into their decisions.

Many people are satisfied with 'good enough' when making important decisions. This book provides a method that will take you and your co-workers beyond 'good enough' to true Decision Quality.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Acknowledgments
  6. Preface
  7. Part I: The Decision Quality Framework
    1. 1: The Power of Decisions
      1. Decision Quality: A Framework for Better Decisions
      2. Decision Skills Can Be Learned
      3. Decisions versus Outcomes
      4. Key Points to Remember
      5. Endnotes
    2. 2: The Requirements for Decision Quality
      1. The Appropriate Frame
      2. Creative Alternatives
      3. Relevant and Reliable Information
      4. Clear Values and Tradeoffs
      5. Sound Reasoning
      6. Commitment to Action
      7. Judging the Quality of a Decision
      8. Key Points to Remember
      9. Endnotes
    3. 3: Getting to Decision Quality
      1. Declaring the Need for a Decision
      2. Setting the Decision Agenda
      3. Understanding the Destination of Decision Quality
      4. Avoiding Decision Traps and Biases
      5. Designing the Decision Process through Diagnosis
      6. Tailoring to Fit the Decision
      7. Key Points to Remember
      8. Endnotes
  8. Part II: The Six Requirements for DQ
    1. 4: The Appropriate Frame
      1. A Friday Afternoon Dilemma
      2. The Key Components of a Frame
      3. Framing the Friday Afternoon Dilemma
      4. An Extended Example: The House Decision
      5. Developing an Appropriate Frame
      6. The Decision Hierarchy: A Tool for Framing
      7. Things that Can Go Wrong
      8. Judging the Quality of a Decision Frame
      9. Key Points to Remember
      10. Endnotes
    2. 5: Creative Alternatives
      1. Characteristics of Good Alternatives
      2. The Strategy Table: A Tool for Defining Alternatives
      3. Things That Can Go Wrong
      4. Judging the Quality of Alternatives
      5. Key Points to Remember
      6. Endnotes
    3. 6: Relevant and Reliable Information
      1. Information from a Decision Perspective
      2. An Extended Example: Michael's Job Choice
      3. Structuring the Relevant Information in a Decision
      4. The Decision Tree: A Tool for Structuring a Decision
      5. What Is Reliable?
      6. Things That Can Go Wrong
      7. Judging the Quality of Information
      8. Key Points to Remember
      9. Endnotes
    4. 7: Clear Values and Tradeoffs
      1. Values and Tradeoffs for Decisions
      2. Michael's Values and Tradeoffs
      3. Values in a Business Context
      4. Making Tradeoffs in Business Decisions
      5. Things That Can Go Wrong
      6. Judging the Quality of Values
      7. Key Points to Remember
      8. Endnotes
    5. 8: Sound Reasoning
      1. Reasoning for Michael's Job Decision
      2. Reasoning in More Complex Decisions
      3. The Relevance Diagram: A Tool for Structuring Complex Decisions
      4. The Decision Model: A Tool for Analyzing Complex Decisions
      5. The Tornado Diagram: A Tool for Displaying the Relevance of Information
      6. Flying Bars: A Tool for Displaying Overall Uncertainty
      7. Things That Can Go Wrong
      8. When to Get Help with Reasoning
      9. The Power of Iterating from a Simple Start
      10. Judging the Quality of Reasoning
      11. Key Points to Remember
      12. Endnotes
    6. 9: Commitment to Action
      1. Two Mindsets: Decision and Action
      2. Commitment through Participation and Ownership
      3. Conscious Commitment
      4. Things That Can Go Wrong
      5. Judging the Quality of Commitment to Action
      6. Key Points to Remember
  9. Part III: How to Achieve DQ
    1. 10: Biases and Traps in Decision Making
      1. Mechanisms of the Mind
      2. Protection of Mindset
      3. Personality and Habits
      4. Faulty Reasoning
      5. Automatic Associations and Relative Thinking
      6. Social Influences
      7. Summing Up
      8. Endnotes
    2. 11: Megabiases that Undermine DQ
      1. DQ and Megabiases
      2. Megabias #1: Narrow Framing
      3. Megabias #2: The Illusion of DQ
      4. Megabias #3: The Agreement Trap
      5. Megabias #4: The Comfort Zone Megabias
      6. Megabias #5: The Advocacy/Approval Myth
      7. General Guidelines for Avoiding Megabiases
      8. Endnotes
    3. 12: Achieving Quality in Strategic Decisions
      1. The Dialogue Decision Process
      2. Four Phases of Dialogue
      3. Every Decision Situation Is Different
      4. Advantages of the DDP
    4. 13: Achieving Quality in Significant Decisions
      1. The DQ Appraisal Cycle: Iterating Our Way to DQ
      2. The DQ Appraisal Cycle in Action: Robin's Career Crossroads
      3. Summing Up
  10. Part IV: The Journey to DQ
    1. 14: The Amoco Unleaded Gasoline Decision
      1. Getting Started on the Unleaded Decision
      2. Seeking Greater Clarity on the Key Uncertainty
      3. Competing Reports
      4. The Bottom Line
      5. Decades of Experience in Improving Value
      6. Endnote
    2. 15: Building Organizational Decision Quality
      1. Organizational DQ
      2. The Components of ODQ
      3. Reaching ODQ
      4. Chevron's Journey to ODQ
      5. Taking the First Step
      6. Endnote
    3. 16: Embarking on the DQ Journey
      1. What Next?
  11. References
  12. About the Authors
  13. Index
  14. End User License Agreement