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Rational Decision Making Model – Action Management Associates

Rational decision making – where logic meets experience.

In his best-selling book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcom Gladwell eloquently describes the power of quick decision making. He tells of emergency room doctors who successfully dismiss mountains of data in favor of small bits of information to diagnose heart problems. He provides examples of art historians and museum curators correctly identifying artifacts as fakes, using simple gut reactions. These examples, and others, are enough to make one believe that we should throw rational decision making out the window. The best decisions appear to be those made by the gut.

However, upon further review, what Gladwell describes is actually a rational decision making model more akin to the “80/20 rule” than the “gut feeling” rule. The examples provided in Blink highlight individuals who have an uncanny ability to make split-second decisions, largely based on the fact that they have vast experience in the areas in which they work. The power of gut reactions comes from the fact that these people have enough knowledge to know which data are relevant and which data are superfluous. Individuals can “thin slice” and quickly determine which criteria are the most important. This is rational decision making at its best – when logic meets experience.

Consciously or unconsciously, we all use criteria to make decisions. Decision makers most often get into trouble when they cannot identify the most important criteria. Is cost a priority, or reliability? What about product quality versus speed to market? Rational decision making encourages us to examine criteria and consider their impact on the final outcome.

Action Management Associates’ rational decision making models have been used by companies to realize millions of dollars in cost savings and increased revenue. To learn more, contact us.

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