What is a decision?

When we use the word “decision” in everyday speech, we use it in two different ways.  When I am looking forward to a fork in the road of life, I might say, “I need to make a decision – which college should I attend?”  The word “decision” implies a question, issue or concern that needs an answer.  At Decision Driven® Solutions our definition is “A decision is a fundamental question or issue that demands an answer or solution”

After I have wrestled with this question a while, I might tell a friend, “My decision is to go to Purdue University”.  In this usage, “decision” no longer means the question, but rather the specific answer that I’ve committed to or plan to commit resources to.  At Decision Driven® Solutions we call these answers, “alternatives”.  Some alternatives are the answers we committed to in the past, other alternatives were considered and rejected; still others are just raw ideas that we may evaluate some time in the future.  Some synonyms for alternatives = solutions, options, ideas.

Neither approach is right or wrong, but there are quite a few advantages to the “Decision = the question” meaning.  More on that in the “Proactive Decision-making” topic.

(Originally posted by John Fitch, January 29, 2008)

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