The following are the 8 steps for strategic decision making. When you have a BIG decision to make, you want to ensure that you apply strategic thinking to your situation and from there, the right decision process to come up with the right decision. In this article, I will share with you how you can use these 8 steps to make any strategic decision!


Start with the decision question

All situations start the same way. Should we do this, or should we do that? Yet for most people, the decision question is seldom the main issue.  For example, "Should we buy a car?" is never really about the car. 




Identify your strategic intent

We therefore need to dig deeper and ask why it is important to get the car. Each successive "why" will bring us closer to the real reason, until we hit the big reason. Many a times it is not easy to identify the real reason - the strategic intent - but we have devised clever ways to uncover that. This you will learn at the training workshops.




Think in time to understand your situation

Whenever you are faced with BIG decisions, you must always apply thinking in time. This is when you look back over the course of your knowledge of the situation and identify the decisions and events that led to it now. You look out for what was done and also, conversely, what was NOT done. Sometimes the solution lies in what you failed to you in the past. (Read the article What can strategic thinking do for you in this site for more stories on thinking in time.) 



Identify constraints and assumptions

Constraints are necessary conditions for a successful solution. These include all the organisational SOPs, the risk appetites, resource levels etc. And also think about what assumptions you have been using in relation to your decision. We will return to them later.


Making a BIG Decision

Discover drivers & holistic solutions

Here is where the heavy lifting starts. All strategic situations are a part of a system and systems contain interconnected drivers. Some drivers reinforce the system, and others hinder. Some even do both, depending on the situation. Identify these, and draw interconnecting lines between them. Those drivers that have many lines coming into or out of them are important to your overall solution. Use them to address the root cause.




Reframe for other options

Strategy formulation is very fun and it takes a creative person to come up with a market-beating strategy. It all starts with us looking at your situation in different frames. So start playing Devil's Advocate, or frame shifting games to find new and novel options. In our workshop, we will share 7 new-business perspectives to help companies identify white space. (Read up on intellectual opportunism in the article What can strategic thinking do for you for some hints.)



Balance options with constraints

By this time, you would already have gotten a sense of what you could do as a solution. You may even have come up with several. It is time to whittle it down to a manageable two. To do that, you check off each constraint against the options, taking care to work constraint by constraint (we share why in the workshop). When you are done, you will have a clear picture of which two options fare best against the constraints. You are now ready to make your decision.




Manage uncertainty with scenario thinking

All options have uncertainty and these are impacted upon by your assumptions. Take each option and identify the assumptions around it. Then build the best case scenario based on all the assumptions being correct; and the worst-case scenario on all the assumptions being wrong! From there you will understand the limits of variability of each option and you can then make a concerted decision is to which is better for you.




And there you are! That is the right decision for YOU! So now go can fulfill it!














The 8 strategic decision making steps were developed and researched by A I Training & Consulting (AITC). The images and the content in this site is the property of AITC. All rights reserved.




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