MSD competency B1

Decision making

Make decisions despite limited or uncertain information

MSD Competency Framework

Competency definition

Practitioners make decisions based on calculated risks. They uncover the information that they lack and see decisions as experiments to gain new information. They limit ‘analysis paralysis’.

Knowledge areas

Practitioners with this competency will be knowledgeable about concepts and ideas described and explored in these resources.

Skills and experience

Practitioners with this competency will have acquired qualifications, skills and practical experience that may include:

  • making high-pressure decisions with significant time constraints. This could be in investment or trading contexts, or in management positions.
  • participation in entrepreneurial ventures that used rapid iteration or prototyping to test ideas and pivot business models

Guidance for teaching this competency

Facilitated discussion
Discuss realities of MSD programmes and the need to act with incomplete information. Unpack organisational risks and personal fears. Get people to share examples of when they have had to do this in other contexts.

Role play
Using a workshop setting ask participants to make decisions on a strategic question or case study with little time and information. Then reveal further information after their decision that contradicts their action. Debrief and reflect on participants' reactions.

Coaching and mentoring advice

  • Constantly challenge staff to put a stake in the ground and state a hypothesis rather than waiting for new information.
  • Facilitate debrief sessions to help staff look at past decisions and extract learning from them.

Guidance for assessing this competency

Presentation of case analysis
Ask practitioners to develop interventions and to explain what specific hypotheses they are testing through the intervention. Probe how the intervention results might prove or disprove their hypotheses.

Direct observation of practice
Present practitioners with a proposed intervention. Give them one minute to think and make decision about what the programme should do and ask them to justify their decision.

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