Objectives for a Decision

Objectives are the criteria for the decision—the specific details of what the decision is to accomplish. We establish these objectives once we state the purpose of the decision and agree upon the level at which it is to be made. We do this before discussing alternatives, sometimes even before identifying alternatives. Decision analysis is the antithesis of identifying a course of action and then building a case to support it. Instead we are moving from what needs to be accomplished toward the alternative that can best accomplish it. For example, if we want to hire a new executive, we are more likely to make a good choice if we first identify the qualities of an ideal candidate and then begin the interviewing process. No experienced manager needs to have this reasoning spelled out. Objectives are clear measures of the ends we want to achieve, for only with clear measures can we make reasoned choices.

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