Improvement in Decision-Making
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” (Confucius [551-479 BC])
(Reflective practice theory: methods, tips, and a guide on using reflective practice for personal development and training, n.d.)
Though choices gives us liberty and allows us to envision possibilities, too many choices can lead to a feeling of bombardment. Under time and stress pressures, multiple decisions throughout the day can result in decision fatigue. Causing paralysis of analysis and overwhelming our everyday lives, decision fatigue averts us away from the present; halting our ability to do and live our lives to the fullest.
So, what can we do to avoid overwhelming our brain’s capacity? Making big decisions in the morning, choosing simpler options, limiting your options, going minimalist, reminding yourself that done is better than perfect, removing yourself from sidetracking places or situations, deciding to not do a thing if it is not on you to do (for the time being), and making your initial decision work are eight ways enabling you to make shrewder and faster decisions throughout a tedious day. (Rochino, 2015)
However, this is easier said than done. How do you learn to improve decision-making?
The answer is reflective practice. A developing framework for an ancient self-improvement technique, reflective practice is a method of evaluating your own thoughts and actions, for the purpose of personal learning and development. You can use it not only for your own, but also to encourage others’ development. It uses insights and learning from the past to measure where you are now, and establishes how to improve your present and future. It extends to everything, from human relationships to handling trauma/change.
Synonymous to personal reflection, self-review, self-awareness and self-criticism. It is a concept that has expanded upon current and traditional self-improvement ideas, while also delving into more personalised levels of behaviour. With reflective practice, behaviours can be more precisely defined, polished, expanded, revised, imparted, implemented and practiced. Furthering the goal of personal development, coaching and teaching, and administrative improvement.
Allowing clearer thinking and decreasing inclinations towards emotional bias, it gives you personal contentment and happiness. However, for actual reflective practice, you need to reflect at the correct time, balance subjective and objective reflection, comprehend how and why you think in the way you do, contemplate your personal role and responsibilities, and pursue external elucidations.
Various models explaining how one practices reflective learning include the Rolfe et al (2001), Gibbs – Reflective Cycle model (1988), and Lawrence-Wilkes – ‘REFLECT’ model (2014). (Reflective practice theory, methods, tips, and guide to using reflective practice for personal development and training, n.d.)
The significance of decision-making is equally important in healthcare. Whereby a clinician’s ability to provide safe and high quality healthcare is reliant upon his/her ability to reason, think, then judge - a process that can end tragically without the correct experience. Similarly, the skilled performance of nurses is also dependent upon constant learning, performance assessment, independent plus interdependent decision-making and inventive problem-solving aptitudes. Learning this necessitates technical expertise, the skill to think critically, experience, and provide clinical judgement. (Benner, Hughes, & Sutphen)
Decision-making, be it for any purpose, entails looking at the world from a new perspective and acting consequently.
“Where people continually expand their capacity to create the results they truly desire, where new and expansive patterns of thinking are nurtured, where collective aspiration is set free, and where people are continually learning how to learn together.”
(The Fifth Discipline by Peter Senge)
For this, we require five constituent technologies i.e. systems thinking, personal mastery, mental models, shared vision, and team learning.
Though idyllic and desirable, what we need first is meaning i.e. a well-established credible definition, secondly management i.e. clear strategies for practice, and thirdly measurement i.e. tools for valuation of learning levels. (Garvin, 1993)
Incrementalism suggests that decision-making should take place in small steps or increments. However, comprehensive decision-making requires the contemplation of all likely situations and possible consequences, resulting in a major renovation of traditions and measures within a learning organization. (Bettis-Outland, 2012)
1. Benner, P., Hughes, R. G., & Sutphen, M. (n.d.). Chapter 6 Clinical Reasoning, Decision Making, and Action: Thinking Critically and Clinically. In R. G. Hughes, & R. G. Hughes (Ed.), Patient Safety and Quality: An Evidence-Based Handbook for Nurses (p. 1403). Rockville, MD, US: National Center for Biotechnology Information, US National Library of Medicine. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2643/
2. Bettis-Outland, H. (2012, June). Decision-making's impact on organizational learning and information overload. Journal of Business Research, 65(6), 814-820. doi:10.1016/j.jbusres.2010.12.021
3. Garvin, D. A. (1993, July-August). Building a Learning Organization. ((C) 2017 Harvard Business School Publishing. All Rights Reserved.) Retrieved April 17, 2017, from Harvard Business Review: https://hbr.org/1993/07/building-a-learning-organization
4. Reflective practice theory, methods, tips, and guide to using reflective practice for personal development and training. (n.d.). ((C) Businessballs 2017) Retrieved April 17, 2017, from Businessballs.com: http://www.businessballs.com/reflective-practice.htm
5. Rochino, L. (2015, May 4). 8 Ways to Combat Decision Fatigue | The Huffington Post. ((C) 2017 TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc.) Retrieved April 17, 2017, from The Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lori-rochino/8-ways-to-combat-decision-fatigue_b_6794022.html