The purpose of this guide is to increase the quality and timeliness of decisions during unexpected or crisis situations. The goal is to make the best decision for the patients, staff, and corporation, with the available information at the time, and at the right decision speed.
Decision-making ability is at the lowest by the end of the day. It can become depleted in long term stressful situations such as a pandemic. Executive Function is the mental ability to make complex decisions, to plan, focus attention, remember instructions, and juggle multiple tasks. It is a known fact that mental ability can degrade with a fatigued brain, especially during a long-term crisis. As such, this brief guide can be used as a resource to aid leaders in critical decision making.
We encourage you to use this guide as applicable and to discuss and share the following with leaders in your organization to support an enterprise risk management approach to facilitating critical decisions.
Crisis decision making is about making timely decisions with:
- Once information is in the 40-70% range, “go with your gut” as judgment is more important at this point than more information (Colin Powell 40/70 Rule).
- The issue is of high consequence, and often the timeliness of the decision is as well.
- Risk management is about managing uncertainty.
Short Term Focus:
Using a mnemonic can often aid the memory as below. Think of the term SMART for critical decision making.
- Safe for employees- protecting employees and their ability to care for patients during a sustained crisis.
- Safe for patients-best decision for the majority of patients.
- Safe for the corporation from potential litigation- unforeseen consequences are likely and utilizing past scenarios or situations (earthquake/hurricane mass casualty situations) may assist.
- Inspire hope, save lives
- Weigh the pros and cons
- Probability of resources (people, supplies, technology) to implement
- Determine the speed of decision needed and base on resource availability and the likelihood of a successful outcome.
Do the following:
- Scan the fact pattern, if there is one, and if there is time to do so – if not, a leader must act to establish order.
- Identify the problem or focal question to solve.
- Consider the critical uncertainties.
- Predict likely progression and impact on strategic objectives and operations.
- Decide on the action.
- Execute by priority.
Long Term Focus:
- Assessment of expected results
- Continuous learning
- A robust system of checks and balances