Sunday 13 November 2016

Introduction - why wise decision-making?

 Necessity of Decision-Making

If there is one thing that we can be certain of as human beings it is that we make decisions. This happens even if we don't want to make decisions - decisions will then get made for us by others and by circumstance and then we have made a decision by not making one (effectively we have decided to give our decision-making capacity away). 

Our Lack Of Training In Decision-Making

What is astonishing is that we get no formal guidance in school or work, and precious little informal guidance from those around us, about how to make wise decisions. Hardly surprising given this that we often struggle to make wise decisions and that our lives, and the lives of those around us, don't always go as well as they might.

Why Help In Making Decisions?

There are three reasons to get help in making decision:
  • Pivotal decisions have very significant implications for how the lives of everyone effected by these decisions goes. It can be worth the time and effort to make these decisions wisely.
  • Some situations are repeatedly encountered (often with slight variations) and for these it can be worth developing a policy for how to deal with these recurring challenges..
  • Spending time on improving our decision-making process can streamline and improve our future decision-making.
Pivotal, and other important, decisions can hang over us for months or even years, while we worry about them daily. Many of our clients, before coming to us, report spending many hours - sometimes thousands of hours - agonising over their decisions. Given this time we often already spend in making decisions, making the decision in a structured way, aided by someone who can help you work through the issues, can be a worthwhile investment of time and effort.

Decisions Can Involve Both Prudential And Ethical Values

A brief consideration of the range of decisions that we make shows two things. First, how inescapable decision-making is and, second, that decision-making often involves both prudential considerations about our own welfare and also that our decisions, both personal and work related, will often impinge upon important aspects of other people's lives. That is to say our decisions will involve ethical values.

What Makes A Decision Wise?

Ultimately a decision is wise if it produces outcomes that are desirable. Much of what occurs in the world is the result of factors outside our control. However we can do much to bring aspects of the world under our influence. Decisions can be made wisely thus increasing our chances of a good outcome. We suggest that the following are important ingredients to making a wise decision:
  • spotting the need to make a decision
  • understanding the situation you are in
  • getting clear on the decision you are facing
  • working out what matters in the situation
  • thinking of possible courses of action
  • assessing these courses of action in terms of what matters
  • effectively carrying out your decision
  • monitoring and revising your decision

What Abilities Are Needed To Make Wise Decisions?

These ingredients of wise decision-making require certain abilities upon our part as we need to both understand ourselves and the world we are in. These include:
  • understanding and using emotions
  • assessing values (what matters)
  • being an effective critical thinker
  • being an effective creative thinker
  • being an effective communicator


PROGRESS is designed to allow us to make wiser decisions in our personal, interpersonal and work lives. It provides a structure to decision-making to make sure that important aspects of the process are properly carried out and a series of tasks that exercise and develop the abilities needed for wise decision-making.

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