Making Good Decisions

Stephen Hawking called the 21st Century the century of complexity. How we deal with complexity will define our enterprises. Making good decisions in complex environments is beyond most of us. We must reduce complexity and increase wisdom to embrace the variables and technology amongst the ever-increasing pace of change.

Target Audience

We all have to make decisions. Delegates will preferably have experience of leading or working within teams and be able to share experiences good and bad to enrich the course through interaction.

Course Topics

We will play a board game to investigate the structure of good decisions and implementation, comparing good practice to common practice. We will examine human cognition and the factors that influence it. We will study the complication that technology has wrought upon commerce and establish methods to measure the value of competing ideas. We’ll consider methods to simplify decision making through the correct application of technology.

We’ll follow good decision making with ensuring the decision is effectively implemented. Creating a complete strategy, plan and performance cycle is necessary to make sure big decisions and big commitments pay off and we learn as we go.

Course Overview

We traditionally rely on documented justification and recognition of the outcome (confirmation bias) rather than measured decisions. Through documented justification we make the mistake of relying solely on the opinions of experienced people, instead of testing different options. It is therefore unsurprising that many common problems occur and we seem unable to learn.

Even in simple situations we run the risk of confirmation bias and group think. This 2 day course introduces structure to decision making.

Training and education are not the same thing. Repetition, the result of training, will not cut it in changing circumstances. Our knowledge level must be sufficient to allow us to identify new unknowns and to develop or commission models to help us understand these unknowns or our inability to accept the risk.

This course aligns decision making with the analysis of facts and the simplification of complexity to provide the clarity that organisations need.

A decision alone is insufficient to achieve an outcome. The decision must be supported by a workable plan for implementation. The combination of analysis, decision and planning is what produces results.

We rehearse the use of these tools, so that delegates leave the course capable of functioning beyond confirmation bias and group think, capable of starting from a blank sheet of paper if necessary, making functional decisions and workable plans.

Learning Objectives

Making good decisions is about increasing wisdom and reducing complexity. In this course you will learn how to:

  • Carry out mathematical decision analysis (for dummies)
  • Follow the Golden Rules of Anlysis
  • Construct a plan and carry out programme evaluation and review
  • Understand human cognition and the factors that influence it
  • Identify cognitive bias
  • Apply a repeatable process to simplify decision making, planning and evaluation


Howard Thomas has advocated practical approaches to handling complexity for over 20 years.

He has a unique ability to make the complex clear for his clients and audiences. He combines an in depth technical background with a wide ranging business experience but is probably best known for his engaging style of presentation.

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