The TDODAR decision model helps an individual make good decisions in emergencies or any scenario with a high degree of uncertainty. TDODAR is an acronym of the six sequential steps that every practitioner must follow, comprising: time, diagnosis, options, decide, act/assign, review.
Understanding the TDODAR decision model
During a flight, pilots are required to make informed decisions in what is a very high-stakes environment. But decision making can be influenced by many factors, including stress, spatial disorientation, or simply a lack of experience or knowledge. Pilots use the methodical nature of the TDODAR model to consider all options before ultimately deciding on a course of action.
The model also has applications in most other industries, particularly if a clear plan of action is not immediately apparent. This helps businesses avoid making rushed or incorrect decisions that are not in their best interests.
The TDODAR decision model process
TDODAR is an acronym of the six sequential steps that every practitioner must follow.
Following is a look at each of the steps:
- T (Time) – how much time is available to make the decision? It’s important to be thorough on this initial step because it will affect how the following steps are performed. Every person who is involved in a decision should be aware of time constraints.
- D (Diagnosis) – to accurately diagnose the problem and its causes, gather data, and consult a wide range of relevant expertise. The 5 Whys technique can be used for moderately difficult problems. For complex problems, try the Cause and Effect Analysis. Avoid confirmation bias and be on the lookout for groupthink, where people in a group choose not to voice their concerns to facilitate group consensus.
- O (Options) – in terms of solving the problem, what are the options? Some options are more feasible and intuitive than others. But when a solution is not immediately apparent, it is helpful to brainstorm ideas.
- D (Decide) – given the information gleaned in the first three steps, a senior individual must make the most sensible decision. In high-pressure situations, it is wise to include others in the decision-making process to avoid judgment errors and biases.
- A (Act/Assign) – who will act on the solution? Once this has been determined, roles and responsibilities must be assigned. During a commercial flight, the pilot and first-officer share responsibilities but have clearly defined roles. In a business scenario, a decision-maker may act on the solution or delegate responsibility to subordinates.
- R (Review) – in the final step, the efficacy of the solution must be analyzed. Has it solved the problem? Have the desired results materialized? If the problem becomes recurrent or worsens over time then decision-makers must reassess previously discarded solutions. In some cases, they may have to perform a new TDODAR analysis.
TDODAR decision model best practices
Use these best practices to get the most out of the TDODAR decision model:
- Consider whether the problem has a high level of uncertainty or time pressure before beginning. If the problem cannot satisfy either of these criteria, then the effectiveness of the model is limited.
- Run through each step sequentially – resist the urge to complete more than one at a time.
- Be concise when stating thoughts and facts, particularly if time is at a premium.
- Collaboration with others can be beneficial if there is time to do so. The discussion should always remain objective and free of emotion or personal agendas. If there is a disagreement on the choice of solution, move forward with the most conservative option.
- The TDODAR decision model facilitates good decision making in emergencies or similar high-stress, time-sensitive situations.
- The TDODAR decision model is based on a sequential six-step process that defines the TDODAR acronym: time, diagnosis, options, decide, act, and review.
- Using the TDODAR decision model effectively means ensuring the problem has a high degree of associated uncertainty. Decision teams should also be concise and avoid subjectivity creeping into discussions.
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