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Problem Solving & Decision Making

Executive Development Programs

Program 10: Problem Solving & Decision Making


Being able to make decisions and solve problems effectively is a necessary and vital part of the job for every officer, manager, executive and planner. A fundamental part of a manager’s role is to make decisions; it is an essential component of all management functions. The way in which an organisation develops its strategies, achieves its business plans, allocates resources and maintains its flexibility depends on the decisions taken by managers at every level throughout the organisation.

Good decision-making is a vital part of being a good manager. We know that high-¬ performing managers make more right decisions and make decisions more frequently than other managers. Some decisions require no more than an intelligent interpretation and appropriate implementation of an existing set of rules or guidelines. Others call for substantial thought, research and input from many individuals, and are made against a dynamic background.

Managers may act intuitively in making a decision, based on their level of experience and confidence, or they may use one or more structured tools and techniques to help them arrive at the right decision. However, the application of judgement will always form a strong element when managers make decisions. It is a core responsibility of managers that such judgements are always well informed.

This workshop looks at decision-making from the manager’s viewpoint and aims to help you improve your decision-making. It also recognises that, in business today, decision-making is everyone’s responsibility. Decision-making for staff who is not managers is often through involvement in team decisions and the workshop also explores the benefits and limitations of team decision-making.

The workshop uses a variety of instructional approaches to ensure learning and application. The session adheres to the following learning model:

  • Awareness: The session begins with the introduction of a concept related to its objectives. The concept is examined through discussions, lecturettes, and self-assessment.
  • Practice: The participants engage in exercises that allow them to practice the skills and behaviours associated with high performance.
  • Application: The participants determine how to apply what they have learned to their individual issues and job situations.


In this workshop, participants will learn a decision-making model that can be used to make decisions and solve problems in both emergency and day-to-day situations.

This workshop will provide the participants with a foundation of knowledge that will enable them to:

  • Explain the need for decision-making and problem-solving skills in the management of day-to-day operations.
  • Distinguish between a problem and its causes or symptoms.
  • Analyze their personal attributes and relate them to their individual decision-making style.
  • Describe the personal attributes of an effective decision maker.
  • Explain how the ethics of a situation can affect problem solving and decision making process.
  • Apply a model for problem solving and decision making to the different scenarios.

Program Outline


  • Workshop Objectives
  • Case Study – Crisis at Bedok Reservoir
  • Activity: Personal Learning Goals

The Decision-Making Process

  • Problem Solving vs. Decision Making
  • Problem-Solving Model
  • Case Study – What Are Your Options?
  • Techniques for Generating Alternatives
  • Criteria for Evaluating Alternatives

Identifying Decision-Making Styles and Attributes

  • Using Type Inventories to Determine Preferences
  • Preferences and Decision Making
  • Activity: Where Should You Flex?
  • Attributes of an Effective Decision Maker

Ethical Decision Making

  • Components of Ethical Decision Making
  • Applying the Problem-Solving Model to Ethical Issue

Decision Making in an Emergency and/or Crisis Situation

  • Decision Making and Stress
  • Integrative Case Study: ‘Hurricane Hortence’

Workshop Summary and Personal Development Plan

  • Individual Exercise: SMART Personal Development Plan
  • Workshop Evaluation and Close

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