Decision making for Architects

Image Copyright: Bansri Pandey

"Choice (decision), not chance, determines the destiny.’ - Jean Nidetch


You have made one of the most crucial decisions demonstrating your decision making skill - deciding to be in an architectural business. Welcome aboard!


Management gurus recommend asking this question to yourself when you find yourself into a difficult decision-making situation:

“What will happen if I don’t decide?”

If your answer is: ‘Nothing bad’ then no decision may be the best.

If your answer is: ‘Something undesirable’ then you may need to make a decision.

If your answer is: ‘I don’t know’ then you need more information.




The Latin root of the word “Decision” means "to cut off from all alternatives". In an attempt to devise an approach that embraces this core essence of decision making, I came up withan approach that I chose to call as the “3D” approach. 


The 3D approach encompasses the decision-making process  in one simple formula:


Decision = Define + Discuss + Determine


The first step to decision making is to define the problem statement. When trying to address a problem, we all tend to deviate towards addressing the secondary problems eventually drifting away from the original problem. For example, when you desperately need a TV, your friends may suggest you to buy a DVD player as well. Gradually, your focus and search energy will switch to DVD player; much before you realize how much you drifted from your original need of a TV.


Focus entirely on the original problem for which you need to make a decision. Focusing becomes easier when you define your problem clearly and and discard all other secondary problems that distract you. 



Running an architectura practice is not a one-man show. It is a team-work. Thus, takig your team into your decision making process is one of the key to implementing that decision later. Collect all the required informaton to form ideas and generate directions. Discuss all possibilities with your team, evaluate both pros and cons. Articulate your point of view as well as understand others’ points of view. Mark areas of agreement. Don’t deviate from the problem, but be open to new ideas.


Discussion is incredibly powerful in terms of opening up new possibilities and solutions to the problem and helping you take your decision more consciously. Communication methods is very important while conducting such discussion meetings. Learn more about communication skills for architects here. 



Considering that you have gathered all information and ideas in the first two stages of our 3D approach; the last stage is when you approach your decision. 


Each and every building you see around you is unique; each and every architect is unique too. According to Myers-Briggs type indicator, generally people's personalities are classified between various degrees of how perople feel and think. A thinker tends to use reason and logic. A feeler tends to use values and judgment. The “Determine” stage is when your decision making skill, whether rational or intuitive, is put to test. Having gone through a logical process of conscious decision making using the 3D approach, there is less room for vagueness and ambiguity in your decision. 


Determine your decision. Be firm in your decision and communicate the logic behind this decision to others. Stand behind your decision and implement it.


3D is a powerful and a compelling approach that helps you reach to a conscious decision. Factors like knowledge, intuition, experience, entrepreneurial skill, scientific training and management training play an important role in facilitating the decision making process.


In this rapidly changing world, when you don’t have a choice but to make a decision from too many choices… the 3D approach may help you make  the decision right!


Next>> Learn more about varous skills that an architect requires to successfully run an architectural practice here.


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