Good decision-making is arguably the most important skill of successful business leaders. From initial market research to setting long-term objectives, every step a business takes revolves around a leader’s ability to assess complex situations and consistently make choices that create the best chance for successful outcomes.

Leaders must take responsibility for developing intelligent decision-making skills. These are skills that any committed professional can learn. While innate ability drives some areas of leadership, making better business decisions is a talent that leaders hone through study and practice. In an age when data informs so much of business strategy, it’s also a skill that needs constant updating.

Mastering the ability to make better business decisions is one of the many reasons why professionals understand the value of earning a business certificate.

Better Decisions Make Better Managers

In a sense, we are all only as successful as our ability to make good decisions. We choose what skills to learn, the industry in which to apply those skills, and whether it’s necessary to evolve them over time. These decisions suggest what degrees and certificates will further our ambitions.

Most employees focus on day-to-day processes (and ways to improve process frameworks). Managers also work within these process protocols, but their responsibilities as leaders require sound decision-making and addressing uncertainties.

For the unprepared, critical decision-making can quickly become overwhelming. Making decisions that impact others is a minefield for those without the proper skills, mindset, and training. Potential factors that can lead to poor choices include not accounting for unexpected events, using outdated processes or data, failing to connect the current problem to overall business strategy, and not seeking input from the right people.

Any one of these can lead to an endless cycle of indecision and “just one more” analysis report.

Tools and Techniques for Better Business Decisions

Every decision is unique. However, most successful decision-making approaches follow a similar pattern.

  • Identify the goal. Align the current challenge with the overall business strategy.
  • Gather relevant information. The key here is “relevant” – business leaders must avoid using outdated data and analysis.
  • Evaluate the options. Objectively evaluate which option has the best chance of a good outcome.
  • Make the decision. Good leaders don’t hesitate to decide once they’ve taken the previous steps.
  • Evaluate the decision. Assess the short-term and long-term impact of the decision.

Decision-making tools can help business leaders navigate these steps toward optimal outcomes. For complex challenges, many turn to analytics and AI-driven software that simultaneously analyzes millions of data points. Using this approach requires familiarity with the tools and methods of data analysis.

Managers use traditional, proven decision-making tools. Standard, tried-and-true methods include decision matrices, decision trees, pro and con lists, cost-benefit analyses, and SWOT analyses (which assess strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats).

The Importance of Professional Development

Refining the ability to make good decisions incorporates competence in the core functional areas of business. These disciplines include management, accounting, finance, marketing, operations, and analytics. Business leaders must also understand how these elements work together in a successful business operation.

The Business Essentials Certificate from the Kelley School of Business teaches professionals the fundamental skills required for business leadership, decision-making, and success. The program focuses on strategy, function, and creating economic value and competitive advantage. The program also covers critical process analysis and improvement and the application of data-driven insight in developing business strategies.

Armed with this knowledge, managers, and administrators can build a solid foundation to make better business decisions. Coupled with their business experience, the certificate program rewards professionals for making the decision to invest in their development.