Developing the Essential Skills for Making Quality Decisions
by Ralph L. Keeney
Research Professor Emeritus, Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
Quality decision-making is based on your decision-making skills. As with any skill, improvement requires learning and understanding how to perform the elements of the skill well and then practicing the techniques to do them well. We all can improve our decision-making skills.
This presentation describes concepts and procedures to address five essential elements for making quality decisions:
- defining the decision that you want to face,
- identifying your objectives for that decision to describe what you hope to achieve,
- creating alternatives better than those that were obvious and easy to identify,
- being proactive in creating your own decisions, referred to as decision opportunities, to raise your quality of life above where it currently is, and
- removing constraints of an authorized decision-maker (someone who controls whether you can implement a desired alternative) by modifying your preferred alternative to also be a better deal for that authorized decision-maker.
The importance of these concepts is illustrated using numerous real applications. The concepts and procedures are each practical to use and rely only on common sense and focused effort. How to effectively use these procedures on your decisions, along with numerous applications, is discussed in my recent book Give Yourself a Nudge: Helping Smart People Make Smarter Personal and Business Decisions.
Ralph Keeney Bio
Ralph L. Keeney is an expert on decision making. His passion is to help individuals and organizations improve their decision making skills. He has written extensively on the foundational ideas and concepts for making quality decisions and on practical procedures to routinely use, and applications of those ideas and concepts on important decisions. Dr. Keeney has consulted on a wide range of decisions including corporate management problems, public policy, and significant personal decisions.
Professor Keeney’s most recent book is Give Yourself a Nudge: Helping Smart People Make Smarter Personal and Business Decisions (2020).
Keeney received a Ph.D. in engineering and operations research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a Research Professor Emeritus of Business Administration at Duke University and a Research Professor Emeritus of Industrial and Systems Engineering at the University of Southern California. He recently received an honorary doctorate from the University of Waterloo in Canada and has been a member of the National Academy of Engineering of the U.S. since 1995.