Decision quality and quality decisions

What is the Theory of Decision Quality?

The theory of Decision Quality is amazing as it goes through the important links of decision-making. Leaders can use it to effectively make quality decisions because it has step by step instructions to follow. The decision quality theory goes through defining the correct problem, alternatives, information to analyze along the way and how to come up with the right decision in the end. I listened to a great webinar called “Decision Quality: How to Make the Right Choice the First Time.” The webinar discusses how not to confuse decisions with outcomes, because there is a big difference between the quality of decisions, and the quality of outcomes. Understanding the requirements of decision quality is important. Strategic Decisions Group International (2017) explains the Decision Quality theory as having six requirements, including: getting the problem right in the first place, looking at significant differences and creative alternatives, finding relevant and reliable information, looking at clear values and tradeoffs (clarity), sound reaction, and having a commitment to action. Getting the problem right in the first place has to do with getting the right people involved and having a clear purpose, defined scope and conscious perspective. When looking at alternatives, the leader and group members must be creative, focus on alternatives that are only truly doable, comprehensive and compelling. The information will be reliable if trusted sources are used, decisions are forward looking, based on appropriate judgments and data, and effective assessments. The group must focus on value creation, specific statement of value metrics, and consistent and conscious tradeoffs among the value metrics. Sound reasoning will be found through correct decision logic, addressing uncertainty, cutting through complexity and achieving clarity of choice. Lastly, commitment to action will occur when group members build commitment during the decision-making effort and resolve any conflicts by closing ranks and creating execution readiness. Each one of the six steps do have a failure mode because there can be lack of focus through distractions, lack of alternatives, ignoring uncertainty, falling victim to biases, neglecting key stakeholders, relying solely on instinct, premature action and more. The theory is strict in the sense that each step must be thought through, maybe even more than once, to make sure the proper processes are being followed through with. Leaders need to follow through the chain of requirements, but also keep a check list.

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The Synergistic Decision-Making Model has to do with a leader effectively putting the resources of a group or team together to work on a problem. According to Lunenburg (2010), the four steps to the Synergistic Decision-Making Model is listening, responding, reinforcing, and clarifying. The listening step includes active listening through respect for everybody in the group, no judgments and no ranks influencing any comments. Responding includes paraphrasing the remark when necessary, respecting the speaker’s feelings at all times, avoiding judgment and allowing them to have the final say during their turn. The reinforcing step has to do with building on previous remarks to promote creative thinking throughout the team by encouraging previous comments, and not being competitive with comments. The final step, clarifying, is very important as a misunderstood remark by a team member could cause hurt feelings, such as feelings of disrespect. “What is important to the process is to get every possible confusing or unclear point clarified so that some type of judgment can be made about it” (Lunenburg, 2010, p. 9). The Synergistic Decision-Making Model can be used effectively by leaders in making quality decisions because it focuses on the team members, their thoughts and feelings and their creative thinking which can bring out many ideas and alternatives.

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The theory of Decision Quality and the Synergistic Decision-Making Model both provide a clear list for leaders to follow when going through the process of decision-making. Both of them also list what could go wrong, so leaders can look at these situations beforehand to help prevent them. The theory of Decision Quality is lengthier and stricter, and I think it promotes more quality thinking. The Synergistic Decision-Making Model is a vague description of what to do and focuses more on the members themselves than actually solving the problem. I believe that the theory of Decision Quality is best suited for my leadership style because I like detail, and a lot of guidance. At the hospital I currently work for, the CEO has recently terminated the CFO, the CFO assistant and the director of medical affairs. The CEO needs to look into ways to find out who would best fit these job positions. The importance of this process includes needing many details of who fits the job descriptions, data, information and a strong decision at the end because it will affect the hospital in many ways. I believe the theory of Decision Quality would best fit this situation because it requires strict thought processes and the need to be thorough about the actual decision, and not just about those making the decision.


Lunenburg, F. (2010). Models of Decision Making. Focus on Colleges, Universities, and Schools, 4(1), 6-8.

Strategic Decisions Group International, LLC (2017). Decision Quality: How to Make the Right Choice the First Time. Retrieved from: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


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Daniel Fortune

Daniel Fortune is a successful business professional, entrepreneur, father, and lover of travel.

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