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close this bookTraining for Elected Leadership - The Councillor as Decision-maker (HABITAT, 1994, 22 p.)
close this folderPart I. Essay on the councillor as decision-maker
View the documentDefinition
View the documentSummary
View the documentReflection
View the documentConcepts and ideas
View the documentBe rational!
View the documentProblem identification
View the documentAwareness and vision
View the documentReflection
View the documentProblems, symptoms and solutions
View the documentTalk to your problem
View the documentFurther analysis
View the documentQuality and acceptance
View the documentConsequences
View the documentWhat about group decision-making?
View the documentReflection
View the documentOther decision traps
View the documentMaking decisions in uncertainty
View the documentKey points
View the documentReferences


One other consideration to be pondered on the road to decision-making is the possible consequences of your decisions. Because you operate in the public arena, there are often many different kinds of consequences of the decisions you make. They can be either positive or negative, and it's important to think about both sets of consequences when moving toward a final decision. Consequences also can be short term and long-term. Again, these are important to consider. Finally, consequences fall into the following categories: economic, social, environmental, cultural and political. Fortunately, not all decisions have all these consequences or we would be hard-pressed to get any decisions made in the public service.

In an environment of scarce resources, it is important to consider what maker economists call the "opportunity costs" of your decisions. Implicit in every decision to expend scarce resources on a particular activity or facility is a decision not to use those same resources to address some other problem. For example, what are the opportunity costs if your council decides to spend scarce funds on a heart transplant centre at the university hospital rather than an AIDS prevention educational programme. Another way to think about these decisions is in terms of their long-term costs and potential benefits. The benefit and substantial costs of saving a few lives through heart transplants must be weighed against other programmes that may preserve life for many at a small investment per capita. In other words, what are the opportunity costs of your funding decisions?

If you follow these steps, and precede them with awareness and vision, you should be able to improve your decision-making abilities considerably. Find the real problem or opportunity and analyse it carefully. Determine the available options.

Choose one and consider the consequences of implementing it. Get the acceptance of those who will be responsible for implementation and those who will be affected. Then decide. If you follow this process r decisions should be successful.