For the last 15 years, I gained many teaching experiences in many fields such as decision making, operations management, managerial accounting, supply chain management, process management, and logistics. In the following, I focus on my activities in decision making in the spirit of this website.
It inspires me to help individuals and organizations to become better decision makers because it has a substantial impact (see “why is decision making important?”). I give courses and keynotes on decision making for a broad variety of different audiences ranging from high school, bachelor, master, MBA, and doctorial students over managers and consultants to the general public. All different audiences have different needs and interests. High school students have to decide what to after school; a decision which provides the basis for their live in the future. Schools and other organizations provide them with lots of information about potential alternatives such as studies, apprenticeships, one-year volunteer service, etc. However, they do not know what they want (their objectives) and how to make a decision (see research projects). Consultants are in particular interested in three things. 1) How to identify and minimize decision making biases such as overconfidence or opti-/pessimism that influence the decisions of their clients. 2) How to create sound decision models which can be applied in practice easily. 3) How to change their business model from “being the fire brigade” (problem solver) to “establishing long lasting relationships to their clients” (decision opportunities creator).
In order to offer high quality education and training in decision making it is crucial to combine research, practice. To the best of my knowledge, I am the only one in German speaking countries who is very active in research on improving decision making (see research) and has substantial experiences in helping individuals and organization improving their decision making (see consulting). This enables me to give unique courses and keynotes.
Why is decision-making important?
- The only way for you to purposefully influence the quality of your life, or anything that you care about, is by the decisions you make. The same is true for organizations.
- Making decisions is one of the core tasks of managers. However, most students get only confronted with decision models in their specializations without fully understanding these models and their implications.
- Improving decision-making processes has a huge leverage on companies’ performance. (There is a study according to which spending one dollar in a good decision-making process will on average return 1000 dollars).
- Decision making is getting more and more complex and exceeds the cognitive abilities of individuals. Therefore, there is a need for decision-support tools and the ability to deal with them appropriately.
- In times of digitalization, strategies have to be implemented quickly and decisions have to be carried out very fast. In order to ensure this, you need decision readiness / preparedness
- Transparent decision-making processes become more and more important, for example in public tendering and public spending. (For example, I have participated in the project on identifying the relevant criteria to allocate 12 billion dollars maintenance budget for repairing highways and bridges for the California Department of Transportation. Another example is that of Chevron Corporation that established the rule that decision analysts have to moderate decision processes in all projects above 50 million dollars.)
- (Proactive) decision-making skills can be trained and lead not only to a higher decision satisfaction but also to a higher life satisfaction (the corresponding paper is still under review). What else do we want to achieve for our students/clientsJ?
All my courses are adapted for the special needs/interests of the audience. In the course, participants can learn how to make good individual decisions, in particulars to
- frame the decision problem appropriately for single and multiple decision makers / stakeholders
- formulate decision statements
- identify and structure objectives
- operationalize objectives with suitable criteria (not necessarily KPI)
- systematically develop attractive alternatives
- systematically develop attractive decision opportunities
- identify states and uncertainties
- elicit preferences (their own as well as of others)
- value functions
- weights of criteria
- aggregate preferences using multi-attribute utility theory
- explicitly consider uncertainties
- consider multiple objectives
- check robustness of the results (identify rank reversals, etc.)
- ensure unbiased decisions
- identify biases in decision making and prevent them during problem structuring
- apply debiasing methods
- use decision support tools effectively
- make decisions in groups
Everyone who want to improve his or her decision making skills.