What are decision making steps? 

what are the steps of decision making

We’ve all made a decision. Perhaps you find it easy and can make them quickly and easily. Or perhaps you find it difficult and like to take your time and consider everything, and even then don’t know what to do! 

Of course, decision making is the process of making choices by gathering information, and considering which way to go. Whether quick or slow, we all go through a process. 

Using steps of decision making can help you make more thoughtful decisions by logically working through the available information and considering the alternatives. Let’s consider the steps of decision making:

Step 1: Identify the decision

To make a decision you need to firstly clearly define what that decision is. If you don’t fully understand the decision, the chances are you wont make the right choice. 

Step 2: Gather the information

Once you know what your decision is, you need to collect all the relevant information to help you make the right choice. What information do you need, what are the best sources, how can you get? You need to put some effort in at this stage to do your research. Cover all bases until you are satisfied you have everything you need. 

Step 3: What are the alternatives?

Most decisions have several possible paths of action, or alternatives. Try to use your imagination and the information you have gathered to construct new alternatives. In this step, it can help to list all possible and desirable alternatives.

Step 4: Consider the evidence

You’ve gathered everything together, now you need to work through it. As you go through this, you’ll begin to sway towards a particular way and generally this will have a higher chance of reaching your goal.

Step 5: Take action

You’re now ready to take some positive action. You’ve looked at the alternatives, considered the evidence and started to lean in to one option above others. 

Step 6: Review your decision

This is the final step, and simply involves looking back at your decision and making sure you are absolutely happy with your choice. There is nothing from stopping you going straight back to step 1 if you have any sense that it isn’t the right decision. 


Whilst working through these steps you may also wish to incorporate SMART. This is a mnemonic/acronym used to set objectives such as employee performance/ management or personal development. SMART stands for; specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time bound.

Setting SMART goals means you can clarify ideas, focus efforts, use time and resources productively, and increase chances of success. To set SMART goals you will need to work closely with your team. The process should be collaborative and take into account your organisations overall strategy, the purpose of your department or project and individual objectives. 

By doing so you create a shared primary goal. The drive of the organisation, department and each employee is aligned and focused on a shared result. This approach can drastically increase both employee and business performance as it firmly links the employee goals to your organisations overall strategy.


Engage in Learning provide Decision Making Pathway courses which will help you develop creative thinking and problem solving skills. The Decision Making: Options to Implementation course help you learn how to achieve success by evaluating decisions using consistent criteria. 

Evaluating options requires an analytic approach and this course will help you to know how to work through the evaluation process.

This online course forms part of our Leadership and Management series. It will help you develop influencing skills which will increased sales and successful interactions.

Our Decision Making: Options to Implementation course can be found here