How we make decisionsHow we make decisions header

We make decisions all the time. Some we’re more aware of than others. There are points in working life where the process of decision making needs to be sped up or slowed down. Understanding different decision making models and processes is an important aspect to doing any job well.

Below you can find resources on:

  • Decision making
  • Problem Solving
  • Project management (These resources have been created in collaboration with both the Projects and Change team in Planning and Governance Services and the Programme and Project Unit in CiCS. There is a specific section on Project Managment, available from the button on the right.
  • Time management

It would be great to hear some of your stories on decision making, or how this is supported in your work area, so please get in touch at Join the conversation.

Learning events

Learning events are an opportunity for you to meet with colleagues who would like to develop their skills in a similar area to you, and will give you opportunities to put this learning into practice in a structured and supportive environment. The available learning events are in the following categories:

  • Decision making
  • Time management

The learning events may require you to do some prior reading, and all will rely on you being ready to contribute and get involved when you attend. We look forward to meeting you and working with you.

Click on the links to find out more and to book your place.

Decision making

Decision eventsManaging Meetings

This event covers how to effectively manage meetings, that can support decisions being made.

Time management

Decision eventsEase the load

This full day event, lead by an external consultant, David Longstaff, looks at time management from a fresh perspective to put you back in control of your time. Applying the approach will help you enjoy, and not just cope with, your busy schedule, leaving you on top of your work, not buried by it!

Videos

Below are some videos relating to decision making. They are thought-provoking, providing insight from individuals, we will be adding more practical information and guidance videos to this list in the near future - so keep checking back.

In the meantime, if you find an interesting video, we would love to hear about it. Share it with us on the Google+ community, or you can email us the link if you want at developmenteverywhere@sheffield.ac.uk.

To make it easier to find what you're after, they are split into the following categories:

  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Project management
  • Time management
  • Managing people
  • Managing processes
  • Managing planning

Decision making

How to make better decisions

Professor Baba Shiv demystifies the brain chemistry that controls our decision making, and explains how you can regulate it to make better decisions. He also uses the latest neuroscience research to answer the question, "Is it better to make decisions in the morning or the afternoon?" Shiv is the Sanwa Bank Limited professor of marketing, and director of the Strategic Marketing Management Executive Program at the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Decisions videos halfDecision Making: Brain research at Stanford

Professor Baba Shiv continues the discussion on brain research at Stanford, but takes the topic in a different direction. He focuses on the role that the brain plays in the decision making process that is so fundamental to our existence. He looks at how emotion is interpreted by the brain and ultimately affects the final decision making process.

Decisions videos halfWhy we make bad decisions

Dan Gilbert presents research and data from his exploration of happiness -- sharing some surprising tests and experiments that you can also try on yourself.

Decisions videos halfDecision making process

This short clip takes you through a basic systematic approach to decision making in 3 mins 51 seconds, as well as giving some guidance on how to manage yourself when making decisions.

Decisions videos deal halfMaking decisions

This short course (11 minutes) takes you through five key questions that will focus your decisions on what they need to achieve and make the impact of your decisions more significant.

Making high quality and justified decisions will be important to managers awarding Recognition Awards.

Decisions videos halfCognitive biases: Anchoring

This video explains how the decisions that we make can be affected by arbitrary information. (4 minutes 53 seconds)

Decisions videos halfHow to improve your daily decision making: Cognitive biases to avoid

This five minute video explains four cognitive biases that can have an affect on the decisions we make, and provides some strategies for overcoming these biases.

Decisions videos halfMake the Right Choice: Three Steps to Effective Decision Making

This four minute video explains how to make better decisions by considering the causes of certain courses of action, thinking about how to forecast effectively, and finally by sorting between different sources of information.

Problem solving

Problem solving - tools and techniques

This video talks through a problem solving model called IDEAL. It also explores how mindmapping can help with the problem solving process in general.

Decisions videos halfProblem solving - SIT model

This video explains the SIT problem solving model.

Decisions videos halfOverview of Toyota’s 8 step practical problem solving methodology.

This slightly longer clip explores what problems are, some practical approaches as well as the Toyota 8 step practical problem solving methodology.

Decisions videos halfProblem solving techniques: Cause and effect diagram

This clip explains what a cause and effect diagram is and how to create one.

Decisions videos halfProblem solving techniques: SWOT Analysis

This clip explains what a SWOT analysis is and what it involves.

Decisions videos halfProblem solving techniques: PEST Analysis

This clip explains what PEST anlysis is and how to carry one out.

Project management

Basic principles of project management

This short clip (3 minutes 16 seconds) covers the basic principles of project management and has linked resources to work through.

Decisions videos halfAssociation of Project Management

This webpage will take you to all the video resources development by the APM - there are a handful of videos which talk about some of the more basic skills, but this site will mainly be of benefit/interest to those wanting to take their skills and knowledge in this area further.

Decisions videos halfThe role of the project manager

Find out what makes GREAT project managers and EXCEPTIONAL team players.

Decisions videos halfWhat is project management?

This 2 minute 42 second clip outlines basic information about project management and highlights some tools and techniques.

Decisions videos halfCreating a Gantt chart

Learn how to create a Gantt chart in 3 mins 46 seconds!

Decisions videos halfPERT analysis

This concise video will help you to understand what a PERT analysis is and how to undertake one. 5 minutes 14 seconds

Decisions videos halfCritical path method

This training video (14 mins 44 seconds long) provides you an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the Critical Path Method.

Decisions videos halfHow to calculate the critical path

This short film looks at the basics of calculating a critical path for a project. (3 minutes 23 seconds long)

Decisions videos halfWhat is project management?

Recommended by a member of staff on their feedback form this short clip looks at the skills required to be a good project manager.

Time management

The urgent/important time management matrix explained

This short clip succinctly explains how to use this well-known time management tool.

Decisions videos halfHow to manage your time

This clip, principally written with students in mind is equally valid to us all and covers some useful tips and tools to enable you to manage your time more effectively

Decisions videos halfSeven effective time management techniques

If time really is against you then this short clip (1:14 minutes long) outlines the basics required for good time management

Decisions videos halfSix time management tips

Six simple tips to helping you manage your time more effectively. Health warning - we are not advocating you come to work as early as is mentioned, and the style of delivery may not be to your taste!!

Managing people

Decisions videos deal halfSelecting rewards

This course covers how to make decisions about effectively rewarding employees, making decisions on rewards that are earned, unique and timely.

Decisions videos deal halfImproving your judgement

This course discusses ways to confront our internal cognitive biases, to make good decisions and more balanced judgements.

Managing processes

Decisions videos halfLeading change

This course provides you with tools to increase the likelihood of your change succeeding, such as creating a vision for change, building a team to deliver change and how to make the change stick.

Decisions videos halfDecision making fundamentals

This course outlines the decision making process, and how different styles of decision making have impact on the people you are working with.

Managing planning

Decisions videos halfImprove your decision making

This short video introduces some models to help leaders make decisions that result in greater success.

Decisions videos halfStrategic planning foundations

This course covers the fundamentals of a strategic planning process.

Useful guides

We subscribe to a Useful Guides library which provides a range of workbooks on a variety of topics. For the full list visit the Useful Guides library website (you will need to enter your username and password to access it), but highlighted below are some guides which may help you make the decisions that you need to.

Click on any of the images to be taken to the library.

To make it easier to navigate through the library, the guides are split into the following sections

  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Project management
  • Time management

Decision making

A useful guide to assertivenessA useful guide to assertiveness

Some decisions are harder than others, and may require you to be assertive. This useful guide is described as a ‘self-instructional’ resource. This style of resource is suitable for some learning styles more than others so please read its’ introductory section fully.

A useful guide to being influentialA useful guide to being influential

In this Useful Guide you’ll find five simple techniques you can use immediately to get your message across in ways that will make people sit up and take notice. This could be particularly helpful when trying to turn decisions into actions.

A useful guide to delegatingA useful guide to delegating

Do all decisions have to be made by you? This practical, down to earth guide talks you through how to delegate effectively.

A Useful Guide to Finance for the Non-Financial ManagerA useful guide to finance for the non-financial manager

This guide provides an introduction to some key concepts relating to managing finance within organisations, and how you can use financial data to support decision making.

A Useful Guide to Goal SettingA useful guide to goal setting

Setting yourself meaningful goals can help in decision making.

A useful guide to self managementA useful guide to self management

This useful guide leads you through some of the critical thinking relating to how to manage yourself more effectively, which in turn could help you in the decisions you have to make.

Problem solving

A useful guide to problem solvingA useful guide to problem solving

This useful guide gives you hands on training to work your way through fixing a problem

A useful guide to feedbackA useful guide to feedback

Giving effective feedback may be an important aspect in solving a problem. This guide is aimed at helping you give feedback in order to improve both performance and motivation.

A useful guide to being influentialA useful guide to being influential

In this Useful Guide you’ll find five simple techniques you can use immediately to get your message across in ways that will make people sit up and take notice. This could be particularly helpful when trying to get to heart of understanding problems and identifying and implementing solutions

A useful guide to delegatingA useful guide to delegating

Does all problem solving have to done by you? This practical, down to earth guide talks you through how to delegate effectively.

A Useful Guide to Effective ChangeA useful guide to effective change

If a solution to your problem requires change then this guide will help you identify how to bring others with you through a change process.

Project management

A Useful Guide to Managing ProjectsA useful guide to managing projects

This useful guide covers all aspects of project management.

A Useful Guide to Goal SettingA useful guide to goal setting

Having clear goals is an important element in project management. This useful guide shows you how to set goals in general and not just within projects.

A Useful Guide to Effective ChangeA useful guide to effective change

Projects management is essentially about managing change. This useful guide can help you consider the impact of the changes your project will bring.

A Useful Guide to Communicating EffectivelyA useful guide to communicating effectively

Communication is a key skill required in project management. Knowing some of the pitfalls of both written and verbal communication could be useful when planning communications around a project.

Time management

A useful guide to time managementA useful guide to time management

This guide gives you some practical tools and techniques to help you make decisions about how you organise your time.

A useful guide to delegatingA useful guide to delegating

Is your time being taken up doing work that others should be doing? This practical, down to earth guide leads you through how to delegate effectively.

A Useful Guide to Goal SettingA useful guide to goal setting

Setting meaningful goals can be a stepping stone to helping you manage your time more effectively.

These are just a selection of the 40 useful guides available.

We really want to hear what you think of these guides, so please fill in the feedback form on the Useful Guides site, or visit our Join the conversation page.

Web resources

We make decisions all the time. Some we’re more aware of than others. There are points in working life where the process of decision making needs to be sped up or slowed down. Understanding different decision making models and processes is an important aspect to doing any job well.

Contained in these pages you will find resources on:

  • Decision making
  • Problem solving
  • Project management (These resources have been created in collaboration with both the Projects and Change team in Planning and Governance Services and the Projects unit in CiCS)
  • Time management

Decision making

Decisions web deal halfHow to make decisions

This identifies 7 simple steps (starting with breathing!) that you can take to help you feel more confident about making and acting on your decisions. It also contains a useful set of tips and warnings.

For Recognition Award decisions, this will help you to prepare to have the conversation about the decision you have made, either with the person who will receive the Award, or to other team members to help explain the decision

Decisions web halfEssentials of budgeting

Arranged in six interlinked modules this online course takes you through the basics of creating and using budgets. you’ll learn how your individual contribution can improve the financial efficiency and effectiveness of your university as a while. Thus assisting your university to make the best use of the resources it managers.

The course has been designed to be worked through in sequence but is flexible to enable the learner to dip in and out of the modules. each module takes between 15 and 60 mins to complete, with the whole course lasting some four to five hours.

Decisions web halfDecision making techniques

This website - Mind tools - contains a wide range of decision making tools and techniques. Useful to dip in and out of this is a big set of resources covering the areas of:

  • Decision making models
  • Models to help choose between options and whether to go ahead
  • Financial decisions
  • Improving decision making
  • The impact of ethics and values
  • Group decision making.

You can also make use of the site’s learning plan to help you keep a track of the areas of the site that are of interest to you.

Decisions web halfRational decision making model

An explanation of a simple decision making processes including useful templates.

Decisions web deal halfEffective decision making

This site identifies six key areas that can prevent decisions being made effectively.

For decisions relating to Recognition Awards, this gives some useful information about how to apply intuition and reasoning to your decision making. This is useful to make sure that your decisions pare justified, but also that you are confident in the decisions that you make.

Decisions web halfDecision making tips

This Harvard Business Review webpage includes a number of tips on efficient and effective decision making.

Decisions web halfHow to make good decisions

This blog from Summit training provides a few tips on making good decisions

Decisions web halfHow to help someone make a good decision

Not only can you make good decisions yourself, you can actually help others to make good decisions which ensure the best results from the team.

Decisions web halfExploring decisions

Sometimes decisions take time to make, and you can experiment with ideas. Exploring decisions can lead to different possibilities.

Problem solving

Decisions web halfHints, tips, tools and techniques

This page covers general problem-solving techniques, identifying the root causes of problems, multiple approaches to problem-solving and how to improve business processes to solve problems.

Decisions web halfProblem solving

This website provides information on identifying and structuring problems and investigating ideas and possible solutions.

Decisions web halfThe skills of problem solving

This website looks at both the analytical and creative aspects involved in identifying and solving problems.

Decisions web halfA three-step problem solving model

A light-hearted look at a three step problem solving model.

Project management

Decisions web halfPreparing a project

This free resource from the Open University takes you through the basics of what projects are and how to start planning.

Decisions web halfProject management tools

This site includes a self-assessment quiz to help you identify your current skill levels along with a project management framework as well as a very helpful glossary.

Decisions web halfProject management - tools, process, planning and tips

As well as providing a good explanation of the different stages of project management this site also includes a helpful analysis of when to use the many different tools available.

Decisions web halfWhat is project management?

The Association of Project Managers website.

Decisions web halfCiCS Project management documents and templates

CiCS have put together some standard documents which you may find helpful.

Decisions web halfProjects and Change team

Planning and Governance Services have a Projects and Change team with specific expertise in project and programme management who may be able to provide you with advice and guidance depending on the type of project you are involved in.

Time management

Decisions web halfBeat work overload, be more effective and achieve more.

This website covers lots of the the simple, practical techniques that have helped the leading people in business, sport and public service reach the pinnacles of their careers.
This site includes tools and techniques in the following areas:

  • General Time Management Tools
  • Prioritization
  • Scheduling
  • Time Management Challenges
  • Concentration and Focus
  • Goal Setting
  • Self-Motivation

Decisions web halfUrgent/important time management matrix

Based on Stephen Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People this website talks through the urgent/important time management matrix and how you can use it to help in managing time more effectively.

Decisions web halfHow to Improve Time management

There are only 1,440 minutes in a day. Regardless of what fills those minutes, everyone only has a set amount of time in which to get things done. Managing time is not about finding or creating more time during your day. It’s about accomplishing the most important tasks in the most efficient amount of time, so you can spend more time doing the things you enjoy.

Books

Here are just a couple of books which you may find interesting reads (there are thousands available). Neither book is written in management textbook speak and both offer fascinating and helpful insights into how we make decisions and how to improve our decision making skills.

Decision books halfThe truth about making smart decisions - Robert E Gunther

Packed with great examples this short, informal but informative book is full of great hints, tips and tools to aid good decision making.

Decision books halfThinking fast and slow - Daniel Kahneman

This book by Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner for Economics explores how our brains make both fast and slow decisions. Warning - this book is extremely readable!

Here is a link to a review of this book by the Financial Times.

Managing processes

The Process Improvement Unit has collated a reading list covering a range of topics around developing creative and efficient processes.