As a practising Consultant Occupational Psychologist at Thompson Dunn Ltd, experts in individual, group and organisational decision making, I am often asked to assess, baseline and develop decision making talent in many different organisations across multiple diverse industries around the world.

Just as a certain family might have particular ways of interacting and doing things, certain groups and organisations often have particular decision making behaviours, preferences and cultures that are characterised by the profiles of individuals they recruit, the teams they form and the talent they choose to develop.

If I were to ask how can we define decisiveness, a large proportion of the general population would likely identify the speed of decision as being the key to decision making. Indeed in today's world, you will perhaps recognise the friend, colleague, boss, whoever, who portrays themselves as someone who 'gets things done'. Fast. On time. With confidence. Whilst this may sometimes be true, in my experience speed is only one small part of what characterises decisiveness. And more often than not, speed of decision making is in actuality an impression management strategy for what is really going on behind the mask of an individual, group or even a whole organisation.

In reality, this impression of fast and firm decision making masks many factors in the human decision making equation, but in particular it conceals what we would term 'Post Decision Dissonance'. In our work we see a large proportion of individuals who like to see themselves as being decisive but in actuality are prone to significant afterthoughts once a decision has been made. They may outwardly appear confident in their choices but privately they are rethinking their decisions, having second thoughts, looking back and wondering whether they made the right call - 'drumming their bottom lip'. This is 'Post Decision Dissonance'. Therefore, although they may be speedy in selecting their course of action, they are actually privately disagreeing within themselves and in turn are less decisive than they might outwardly seem.

This is not to say that a rethink or a change of direction is not sometimes helpful. Quite often a change of course after an initial decision is essential. But what is even more essential is that individuals, working teams and whole organisations understand their decision making talent and seek to harness, develop and deploy it in the most effective way.

The Decision Profile is the key to our understanding of how, why and when people make decisions. It is an invaluable psychometric assessment tool for baselining and analysing decision making preferences, and forms a very important part of our consulting on human decision making at the individual, group and whole organisational levels.

Understanding that speed can mask true decisiveness is one of the many discoveries that are possible by taking a real in depth look at decision making talent. We encourage you to explore your approach to decision making too. Visit the Decision Profile website to complete your own Profile and find out how you make decisions.

The instrument is also available for clients to license and use for their own purposes within their business or consultancy, however small or large. We have many individuals and organisations around the world who license the Decision Profile for their own use, ranging from individual consultants to large global corporations. Visit our website or contact us today to find out more or to become a Decision Profile Licensee.

How do you make decisions?

Michael Johnson Director & Senior Consultant Psychologist Thompson Dunn Ltd. & Decision Profile Ltd.