March 11, 2013

Robust Decision Making: Some thoughts

After studying robust decision making, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of making effective decisions. I have learnt that good decision making involves putting together all the relevant information in a timely and useful manner. Sometimes, there is a need for quick decisions while other times, particularly if there are high stakes involved and time is available, one can deliberate more on the issue and assess the different alternatives. Moreover, I have learnt how bad we can sometimes be in making decisions but I have also been encouraged to see how the use of some tools can greatly assist us in the decision-making process. In addition, I now appreciate the judgement bias that exists in almost all tools much more than I used to before. However, this begs the question: How do you know if you are making a foolproof decision that guarentees good results? Can you ever be sure that your decision is going to work? I guess there will always be some uncertainty. The moment you delve into the world of probability and likelihood, you can never be certain if you have made the right call. Does this mean that making a robust decision, i.e. one that is immune and unaffected by circumstances and uncertainty, is impossible? I would leave that one open to debate, however, I would argue that it is besides the point anyway and we shouldn't be too critical of ourselves. At least, by developing an understanding of these tools and using them effectively, we can certainly increase our chances of making a decision as robust as possible.

Hence, it is important that we should not be quick to point fingers at the tools if the decision goes wrong. We should simply assess the outcome and try to analyze why the decision didn't work. It could be that we used an inappropriate tool or maybe we didn't apply it properly so it could be an error in our application of the tool.


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