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Decision Making Model

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Decision Making Model Analysis

Decisions are required in all that we think, do and say. In fact, it is impossible to go through a day without making a decision. Do I get out of bed today? Do I eat breakfast before leaving for work? What shall I eat for breakfast? These are simple examples, but we also face life-changing decisions as we go through life. We find ourselves asking such questions as, "Do I return to school?" "Do I want to have any children?" "What career path do I want to pursue?" Choosing a career path essentially boils down to a career-making process. Making this type of a decision requires relying on information available and systematically analyzing that information through critical thinking to come to a viable conclusion. A decision-making model can help a person to gather and analyze information. Colorado College has designed one such model for prospective career seekers on their Career Center website at This paper will describe the model used by Colorado College and incorporate my personal experience in how I chose to return to school to pursue a finance degree.

The model includes seven basic steps, with the first being to "Identify the Decision to be Made" (Colorado College, 2005). This may seem like common sense to most of us, but so often in our lives we don't properly identify the true issue or problem to be solved. We then end up trying to accomplish a task that hasn't been clearly defined and we spend an excessive amount of time and energy on trial and error to no avail. Therefore, before gathering information, it is important to clearly define what to gather information about. I did this by asking myself questions like, "What career do I want to pursue? Do I enjoy the financial industry? Do I need a college education to advance in this career path?" I did some deep soul searching and decided that I do enjoy the financial industry and enjoy helping others with their financial planning. I had just been turned down for a job I really wanted due to a lack of a college degree, so I concluded that I did need my Bachelor's degree to further my career. By taking time to properly define the issue, I then proceeded to the next step.

The second step is to "Know Yourself" (Colorado College, 2005). I build upon this step every day. The more experiences I have in life, the more I learn about myself. I have taken many personality and competency tests in the past which have helped me understand who I am and how I work. As a young adult I really didn't know who I was. Now I have deeper insight into what drives and interests me. The model suggests taking an inventory of yourself in four major categories: skills, interests, values and personality (2005). I took this inventory by writing down answers to questions like:

* What can I do best?

* What are my strengths and weaknesses?

* What am I interested in doing?

* What personal qualities do I possess that will help me on the job?

These questions among others enabled me to define the parameters of my decision and served as a check to step one to make sure I had still properly defined my issue.

After completing an inventory, Colorado College's model (2005) suggests to "Begin Identifying Options." The options I identified were to continue down the same path I was on of working entry-level jobs where I was underemployed but unable to advance due to a lack of formal education or to work an entry-level job and return to school, quit working altogether and pursue school, or find another type of job or career to pursue. Most of these options did not seem logical or feasible to me, but I needed more information to help me critically analyze the options to make a sound decision, which leads to step four "Gather information and Data."

Colorado College suggests examining the information and resources readily available and then identifying what additional resources are needed and then doing research to find those additional resources (2005). One thing I have found useful is to seek out what other people have learned from life experiences. I ask questions of friends, family and co-workers to help me define what additional formal information I need to gather. Often I found others had ideas and insight into things I hadn't considered. Critical thinking is crucial using this method because I had to filter through others' suggestions to determine what was useful to me. It is tempting to succumb to a following the heard mentality (Bassham, et al., 2002) and critical thinking enabled me to decide what advice to follow. I then had a solid understanding of what information I needed to seek



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