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  • By Craig Clee
  • In Blog
  • Posted 26/09/2017

We’ve all felt the pressure of having to make difficult decisions, be it in our private lives or in the workplace. Going with your gut, or relying on instinct to make decisions is often earmarked as a good start point, however when the stakes are high, and involve a risk to reputation or the bottom line, this approach can be perceived as a tad cavalier. Simply put, when it comes to business decisions, we don’t have the luxury of making the odd mistake here and there. Gut-feel or instinct can delay decision-making, create potential conflict and introduce errors, all of which increase risk and potentially make a dent into a company’s bottom-line.

So when it comes down to that decision, how do you approach it? Do you dust off the Magic 8 Ball, give it a good shake and wait to see how it responds to your suggestions? What happens if you get the dreaded “Cannot predict now”; or the equally useless “Better not tell you now”? Where do you go when even your good old Magic 8 Ball finds the decision too difficult?

You could always seek external assistance – there are countless ways in which your fortune can be told. You could even try more than one approach to cover all your bases and boost your confidence. You may be sceptical, but believe me when I say that fortune tellers exist, and some are remarkably accurate! The fortune tellers of which I speak do not use tea-leaves or crystal balls, of course – but use simulation instead. Simulation is a great way of seeing how the future will unfold right before your eyes.

Simulation can provide clarity and focus to situations which may appear foggy or hard to comprehend – and it can also help you to identify which areas of a problem are the most important to focus on.

There are many types of simulation available, but some suffer in the same way as traditional fortune tellers – you provide them with information and somehow this is converted into a prediction. There are appropriate times to use these type of simulation - such as spreadsheet modelling - but if you want to gain utmost confidence in a prediction, then one of the many strengths of using discrete event simulation is that it allows you to visually see the future play out. It equips decision-makers with instant access to accurate, up-to-date insights through demonstrating the immediate and long term impacts of decisions, replicating dynamically how certain operations, processes, spaces, equipment and resources are going to behave if a particular course of action is taken. Crucially it provides the capability to safely test whether your instinct is correct and make adjustments based on facts and figures.

The outcomes of each decision can be played out side by side making it obvious to see which option is best. So if you have a difficult decision to make, why would you not want to see the outcome of each before committing to one?

With that being said, there is still the fall-back position - the lucky coin! Surely that won’t steer you wrong. Give it a good old flip and rest your fate on heads or tails!


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