Whether you are in a business or academic setting, making decisions will factor into your work. Through activities, you can teach decision-making strategies while also encouraging your participants to understand the reasoning behind making decisions and why some decisions are more preferable than others. Activities can be modified to suit the needs of your participants and environment.
When designing a decision-making activity, connect it with the larger picture of the goal you are trying to achieve.. For example, if you are using the activity in a team-building setting for your employees, have the activities tie into their work lives. This can mean creating scenarios based on those they may have encountered on the job or may yet encounter. In a classroom setting, connect the activity to the subject being taught. Use historical events as the basis for the activity in a social studies class while the activity in a literature class should draw from novels the class has read over the course of its studies.
This or That
A guided approach to decision making activities provides the participants a situation and presents them with a set of choices from which to pick. For example, in a work setting you may present the dilemma that a sales person has a chance to sell several small, inexpensive products or one expensive product to a customer. Ask the participants to select their answer and then explain why. Expand upon this by having each participant choose a solution and explain his case. After each case has been presented, come together to decide on the solution. This will not only help with critical thinking, but promote teamwork in making decisions.
When you're working with past events that have direct application to your participants, create a decision-making activity that imagines an alternate time line. Give your participants a situation that may have actually happened, such as a failed lawsuit, a moment in history or a meeting with clients. After you have described the situation, ask your participants to choose how they would proceed in the situation for a different or better outcome. This can involve a different tactic in a famous battle or a different sales tactic to bring on a new customer.
Often there is not one correct decision to make, but several decisions that lead to varying levels of success. Split your participants into teams and present a situation. Present several decisions that can be made with the information given. Ask your participants to choose what they feel would be the best decision and then rank the remaining decisions based on their validity. Have the participants explain why they ranked one decision at the bottom so they learn not only why some decisions are best, but also why others are the least effective. In the small group setting, your participants can engage in debates when deciding their rankings.
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