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What Decision Making Really Involves

The key factors in sound decision making turn out to have nothing to do with the point of decision itself, but everything to do with how this is set up. Situational awareness, an appreciation of what is at stake, and good self-understanding are far more important than any personal qualities such as 'being decisive'.

This is the conclusion from the extensive research into decision making that makes up the book 'Shoot, Don't Shoot' (available for download here) and informs the High Consequence Decision Making (HCD) Training Program. In this scenario, taken from a real episode during the time of the US Marines presence at Beirut International Airport in 1983, one month before the tragic barracks bombing, we walk participants through the steps needed to make high stakes decisions, have confidence in the probability of success, and be able to recognise when the risk of error is high.

HCD Training has been successfully implemented by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), and Emergency Management Victoria (EMV). If you would like to discuss how this program can apply to your context, then contact us at

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