How to Make an Informed Decision (With Steps and Tips)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published May 28, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're looking for new development skills to improve your professional qualifications or personal needs, you can learn how to make suitable decisions when faced with alternatives. Before you make a critical decision, you require sufficient information on the issue before making a good choice. Understanding how to make good decisions can help you with the needed assurance and confidence when making critical choices. In this article, we explore what an informed decision is, discuss its importance, discover how to make one, explore tips on making good decisions, and highlight two examples.

What is an informed decision?

Informed decisions are choices that a person makes after having sufficient resources and knowledge on the issue for deliberation. It involves reflecting on potential results, gains, and risks from all choices and deciding on the most suitable choice for you. When considering all variables in each option, note the factors that matter to you and your objectives. It's crucial in making high-stake decisions to identify the available choices, gather resources on each, and make the best choice. It's a vital skill for both personal development and professional efficiency.

For example, medical professionals offer their patients extensive information on the state of their health, diagnoses, and health care options to help them make accurate decisions about their treatment plans. Members of law enforcement can also provide individuals attending court with knowledge of laws, regulations, and penalties to help them make knowledgeable decisions regarding their trial.

Read more: What Are Decision-Making Skills and How to Improve Them

Importance of making informed decisions

You can use your ability to make knowledgeable decisions to make professional and personal choices. People usually make simple and complex decisions daily, and adequately harnessing this skill can help one make good choices. Below are some benefits of making knowledgeable decisions.

  • It improves confidence: It helps you feel more confident about your choices. The feeling of confidence keeps you from doubting the choices you've already made.

  • It creates more realistic expectations: You learn about the possible gains and risks in different options when you make knowledge-based decisions. It can give you a more realistic expectation of the result.

  • It allows you to learn about other options: Getting sufficient information on an issue before making a choice allows you to learn about other available options. It may help you learn about alternative decisions that you didn't consider before.

  • It allows for more control: Making knowledgeable decisions gives you more control over your choices because it enables you to consider all factors before arriving at a final decision.

Read more: How to Be an Effective Decision Maker (With Steps and Tips)

How to make a knowledgeable decision

It's essential for decision-makers to understand all the processes involved in making knowledgeable decisions. Below are seven steps to help you make good decisions:

1. Determine the issue

First, determine the issue that the decision can solve. Identify the aspects of your work life that you want to change or problems you want to solve by making a decision. Ask yourself which option can help you achieve your professional goals and what obstacles relate to each decision to identify the issue. For example, you may decide on a format for an important presentation at work or choose which college to attend.

2. Gather data

Once you identify the issue, begin gathering information that can help you make a reliable decision. Ask questions that can offer you more insight into each choice. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself and others to find more information:

  • How does this change affect me?

  • What is my intuition?

  • Does this decision impact my short-term and long-term goals?

  • What are my specific options?

  • What are the adverse effects of each option?

  • Is this the right time to make a decision?

3. Research your options

Perform research to understand the outcome of each decision. You can use resources like market research, academic studies, or articles written by individuals experiencing similar issues. This research can help you analyze all possible outcomes of your decision.

Related: What Is a Decision Matrix? And How to Use One in 6 Steps

4. Consider the outcomes

Once you've done your research, consider the outcome of each alternative. Compare each option's positive and negative aspects to see which decision is a better choice. You may create a list of the pros and cons associated with each decision, then compare the lists together to see which option is the best.

5. Make a decision

After analyzing your list of the pros and cons for each alternative, you can make your decision. It's helpful to have a colleague or friend present when making your decision to receive their feedback and support. A friend's perspective can provide you with different information you may have not considered or it can give you the confidence you need.

6. Enact a plan

When you complete the individual decision-making process, it's essential to develop a plan. This plan can help you turn the decision into reality, as it represents a roadmap you can follow. It's also helpful to encourage your team to evaluate, understand, and execute the plan.

7. Review the outcome of your decision

It's beneficial to wait before reviewing the result of your decision. Look at the impact that the decision had on you, and the positive and negative outcomes of the decision. Reviewing your decision can help you improve your analytics skills and develop more reliable criteria.

Read more: How to Make a Difficult Decision in 8 Simple Steps

Tips for making good decisions

Here are some tips to note when making a knowledgeable decision:

Judge all key factors before making a decision

While making such decisions, it's essential to wait, reflect, and think about your options and the scope of your resolution. If you defer a resolution, the variables and outcome of the decision may shift. For example, if you decide which job offer to pursue, you want to select before each formal offer expires.

Talk to others about your decision

It's helpful to talk to other individuals about your decision and accept their opinions about your potential resolution. You can provide them with details about each option, like the variables, how each decision may affect you, and the various outcomes. They may provide you with meaningful feedback or valuable advice about which option to take. It's helpful if they've encountered a decision related to yours so that you can ask them how they decided on their decision, what factors led them to their choice, and what the outcome of their decision was.

Read more: What Is the Rational Model of Decision-Making? (With Steps)

Knowledgeable decision examples

Here are some examples of decision-making processes:

Example one

Find an example to see how to make a knowledgeable decision below:

Barbara wants to pick a college to attend during the summer. She wants to make a knowledgeable decision to ensure she makes the right choice. Barbara soon streamlines her alternatives to two colleges in Ontario. She contacts their admissions office and makes more enquiries about the institution. Before making a choice, she wants to know what the tuition rate for this school is, what the graduation rate is, and how big the average class size is.

Barbara conducts more research to discover the feats, accomplishments, accolades, and possible setbacks from both schools by reading online reviews from current students. She discovers that the first college has low tuition, a smaller class size, and declining academic prowess. The second institution has high tuition, bigger classes, and better reviews on its academic excellence. She then discusses with her mentor and tutors her research and which college to pick. Barbara then decides to enrol in the second institution with the higher intellectual prowess and takes flexible student loans to handle the expensive tuition.

Example two

See another example highlighting the process of making informed decisions:

Caleb seeks a job as a math teacher at a high school, and he wants to decide what school can be the best option for him. First, he identifies his issue and notices that he has two job offers from different high schools in Calgary. He then researches academic institutions to learn about their operations, ideologies. To do this, he contacts the principal of both schools to discuss information about the position. He asks them what the salary for this position is, what the growth rate in this job is, and how they resolve student issues.

He performs his research by looking up their online platforms for additional information. While doing this, he finds that while many parents did excellent reviews about the first school, many felt that the second school didn't provide enough support to their staff. He also realizes that the first school pays more than the second. When discussing his situation with a former colleague, they advised him to take the job with the first school as he's open to learning new teaching plans. He decides to work for the first high school so he can expand his teaching skills.

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