Decision Making

Decision making is the process of reaching a judgement or choosing an option.

Problem definition and diagnosis

Problem definition and diagnosis is the ability to collect the information needed to define a problem and its causal factors.

Examples of poor practice:

  • Nature of the problem not stated or failure to diagnose;
  • No discussion of probable causes.

Examples of good practice:

  • Gathers information and identifies problem;
  • Reviews causal factors with other crew members.

Option generation

Option generation refers to the ability of a crew member to generate multiple responses to a problem.

Examples of poor practice:

  • Does not search for information;
  • Does not ask crew for alternatives.

Examples of good practice:

  • States alternative courses of action;
  • Asks crew members for options.

Risk assessment and option selection

Risk assessment and option selection refers to the ability of a crew member to successfully assess risks and benefits of different responses to a problem, and to select the best response. Both should be accomplished through discussion with other crew members.

Examples of poor practice:

  • Inadequate discussion of limiting factors with crew;
  • Failing to inform crew of decision path being taken.

Examples of good practice:

  • Considers and shares risks of alternative courses of action;
  • Talks about possible risks for course of action in terms of crew limitations;
  • Confirms selected course of action.

The decision making process

The company has chosen a standard mnemonic to help remember the steps for effective decision making..

P – Pool the facts
I – Identify the problem
L – Look for solutions
O – Operate
T – Take stock

This process need not normally formally instigated whenever a problem needs to be solved or a decision has to be made. It is designed to reinforce the cyclic nature of the process. The “Take stock”? (evaluation phase) leads naturally to a review of the original problem. It is a tool to give structure to and to aid your decision making process when confronted with an unusual situation.

Always take into account the following priorities when invoking the decision making process.

  2. Passenger comfort
  3. Schedule
  4. Economy

Concentrating on a lower priority instead of a higher one during problem solving could be construed as a loss of situational awareness.


Co-operation is the ability to work effectively in a crew.

Team-building and maintaining

Team-building and maintaining is about the ability to establish positive interpersonal relations between crew members and their active participation in fulfilling the tasks.

Examples of poor practice:

  • Blocks open communication;
  • Keeps barriers between crew members;
  • Competes with others.

Examples of good practice:

  • Establishes atmosphere for open communication and participation;
  • Encourages inputs and feedback from others;
  • Does not compete with others.

Consideration of others

Consideration of others involves the acceptance of others and understanding their personal condition.

Examples of poor practice:

  • Ignores suggestions of other crew members;
  • Does not take account of the condition of other crew members;
  • Shows no reaction to other crew member problems.

Examples of good practice:

  • Takes notice of the suggestions of other crew members even if s/he does not agree;
  • Takes condition of other crew members into account;
  • Gives appropriate personal feedback.

Support of others

Support of others relates to giving help to other crew members when they need assistance.

Examples of poor practice:

  • Hesitates to help other crew members in demanding situations;
  • Does not offer assistance.

Examples of good practice:

  • Helps other crew members in demanding situations;
  • Offers assistance.

Conflict solving

Conflict solving is about the articulation of different interpersonal positions and giving suggestions for solutions.

Examples of poor practice:

  • Overreacts in interpersonal conflicts, sticks to own position without considering a compromise;
  • Accuses other crew members of making errors.

Examples of good practice:

  • Keeps calm in conflicts;
  • Suggests conflict solutions;
  • Concentrates on what is right rather than who is right.