Situational decision-making is about making effective and pragmatic decisions or choices and considering the specific situation or context, thereby avoiding a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. It involves identifying different options, along with the benefits and risks associated with them, and their alignment to professional principles and values.

Given the ever-changing nature of work, decisions need to remain flexible enough to adapt to new insight, circumstances or changes, and we should be diligent about evaluating their impact in order to inform future practice.

Great practitioners not only bring with them knowledge and experience, but the ability to assess each situation independently - using insight and awareness to ensure they are providing the best possible solution to any circumstance. They’re curious and seek to understand the specifics of the context, and then flexible, thoughtful and creative in their delivery. We don’t live in a one-size-fits-all world and our workplaces are no different. Policies and procedures provide guidance; the skill of the practitioner is in the application."

Neil Morrison, HR Director, Severn Trent

Situational decision making standards

Each standard progresses through four levels of impact. Which level do you most embody in your day-to-day work?

Foundation level Associate level Chartered Member level Chartered Fellow level
At this level you will: At this level you will: At this level you will: At this level you will:
Evidence- based decisions Apply agreed procedures and policies and available sources of evidence to make choices Solve problems and make choices by applying evidence relevant to the specific situation Make well-judged decisions by considering all available evidence in the context of the specific situation Make complex and timely decisions in line with available evidence, the strategic context and professional values when there are unknowns
Decision- making N/A Identify the different options or solutions available and the benefits and risks of each Consider different options and make decisions by balancing opportunity, risk and alignment to professional values Create an environment where others are empowered to make decisions, whilst overseeing risk
Adaptability Be open to new information and changing circumstances Adapt your approach and choices in light of new information or changing circumstances Adapt your decisions and practices to take account of changes to the business environment Anticipate and identify key changes in the organisation environment, and evolve people strategy to take account of these
Evaluating decisions Seek to understand the outcomes of your actions Understand how your choices and actions impact on wider performance Demonstrate commitment to evaluating the outcome and impact of your decisions to inform your future approach Promote a culture that recognises the value of measuring outcomes and evaluating the impact of decisions

Learning Hub

Situational decision
making course

This course explains the importance of effective situational decision-making. It will help you to develop this key behaviour to achieve positive outcomes in your role.

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