4 Processes For Uncertain Decision-Making

Despite the desire of many to believe in fixed, never-changing certainties, we live in an age of uncertainty. Just when we think we have things figured out, something comes along that was completely unexpected, something that sprang from, or will cause, uncertainty.

During the Nonprofit Risk Management Center 2016 Risk Summit, Melanie Herman, Gaetana De Angelo and Eric Spacek of the Nonprofit Risk Management Center reminded nonprofit leaders that they might face uncertainty in the routine course of operations but that they must still make decisions, on a regular basis.

With that being the case, they recommended the following four processes for decision-making in times of uncertainty:

  • Prepare. Prepare for decision-making by considering relevant sources of uncertainty (what might occur and how might it occur?) and asking: Who should we involve to get the fullest possible picture of the range of insights needed?
  • Discover. Discover, understand and appreciate risks.
  • Respond. Respond by taking actions suited to the organization’s circumstances.
  • Review. Continually and periodically check to make sure that decisions were the right ones (or continue to be “right”) and that the organization is on a course to achieve what it set out to do. Make course corrections as needed.