Critical Thinking – Questions to help improve decision making

Do you have an important decision to make? Here are a list of questions to help guide you

• What is the key issue/problem that you are trying to resolve?
• What information do you have about this issue?
• What are your ideas and assumptions that support your strategy or plan?
• Is there solid evidence to support those assumptions, and what might be some gaps in your reasoning?
• Who are the key stakeholders and what are their viewpoints?
• What other ideas should be explored, and what else do you need to know?
• What are the pros and cons of the solution that you are proposing?
• What are your biases? Is there someone who has a different opinion than yours that you could run your ideas by?
• What impact will your decision have on others? How will you handle this?
• Who would disagree with your proposed solution? What is the rationale that supports their viewpoint?
• What key points, models and/or perspectives do you need to keep in mind as you evaluate the options?
• What will be the impact of your decision?
After evaluating all of the facts, what is the best possible conclusion?
• What specific evidence is driving your conclusion?
• Is there new evidence that would impact your decision?

I co-authored a white paper that provides more examples and information about the importance of critical thinking in business.  Check it out: “Critical Thinking Means Business”

Type and Decision Making

Personality type indicators are one way that you can help guide individuals and teams through a systematic decision making process based on personal styles.  A popular model for decision making that leverages personality type is the zig-zag model or Z model.

Below is a summary of how each type prefers to implement a decision:

Extraverts typically will

         Feel comfortable taking a visible role

         Prepared to alter a decision to meet external demands

         Delegate liberally

Introverts typically will

         Feel comfortable working behind the scenes

         Be reluctant to alter a decision to meet external demands

         Delegate sparingly


Sensing types will typically

         Focus on attaining tangible goals

         What to have or follow precise instructions

         Feel motivated by connecting current actions to immediate benefits

iNtuitive types will typically

         Focus on attaining conceptual goals

         Want to have or follow general guidelines

         Feel motivated by connecting current actions to future possibilities


Thinking types typically will:

         See efficiency first

         Support the decision maker by supporting the decision making process

         Be tough when necessary to keep things on track


Feeling types typically will

         Seek cooperation first

         Support the decision making process by supporting the decision maker

         Be encouraging when necessary to keep things on track

Judging/Organizaing types will typically

         Establish time frames and identify milestones

         Expect to follow through and stick to the plan

         Minimize the interruptions and diversions in the interest of achieving the outcome


Perceiving/Adapting types will typically

         Introduce broad parameters and suggest optimal outcomes

         Expect to adapt and make adjustments to the plan

         Respond to interruptions and diversions in the interest of enriching the outcome

I was laughing as I pulled this list together.  I am in the process of a major life decision and I have found myself delegating liberally, connecting current actions to future possibilities, encouraging others to see opportunities and making adjustments to my plan constantly.  There is no denying that I am an ENFP.  Do any of these examples relate to your personal style? 

Using Personality Type to Make Better Decisions

When thinking about preferences, type, and type dynamics, know that no one type can be characterized as the best decision maker.  Effective decision making requires the flexibility to shift between the Five Core Decision-Making Processes in response to real-life demands.
In the booklet, Introduction to Type® and Decision Making, Katherine W. and Elizabeth Hirsh provide a helpful and realistic guide in decision-making processes and aid in understanding the decision-making processes of others.
These Five Core Processes are crucial to do effective decision making:
  1. Approach a decision-making opportunity
  2. Generate Decision Options
  3. Commit to a Decision Option
  4. Implement a Decision
  5. Reflecting on a Decision
In turn, these processes affect personality preferences in distinctive ways, such as the following:
  • When approaching a decision-making opportunity, extroverts are more likely to identify others who could be involved in the decision, while introverts will ensure they are involved in the decision.
  • People who prefer extraversion will mention all options that occur to them when generating decision options.  On the other hand, introverts will mention only those options they are willing to pursue.
  • If committing to a decision option, an extrovert will notify others immediately when a decision has been made.  Whereas, and individual who prefers introversion will neglect to notify others immediately when a decision has been reached.
  • Preferences for extraversion will include delegating liberally while implementing a decision, but delegation will be sparingly for introversion preferences.
  • During reflection on a decision, extroverts have a tendency to consider how they can change their environment, while introverts consider how they can change themselves. 
Decision-making can be influenced by innumerable factors, including work environment and cultural identity.