HR Decision Making | Queen's University IRC

Queen's University IRC

Queen's University

HR Decision Making

AHR 402
2 Credits

Using Collective Thinking to Develop an Effective Approach to Decision Making

There are currently no scheduled instances of this program. Please contact Queen’s IRC at 1-888-858-7838 for more information.

What are the characteristics of an effective and robust approach to decision making? Successful decision makers uncover and compensate for hidden biases and assumptions. They view decision making as a process that includes identifying desired results, exploring creative options, and realistically estimating benefits and risks. At the root of the process is the practice of generative thinking, to move away from ‘either – or’ thinking to embrace the creative integration of ideas.

Tour of the Program

a) Introduction to Decision Making

Surprising but true, approximately half of the decisions made in organizations fail. So found Professor Paul Nutt (2010) in his detailed exploration of hundreds of strategic decisions made in private and public sector organizations throughout North America and Europe. Why such a high failure rate? Failure prone decision makers are victimized by two interrelated blunders: unconscious thinking traps and failure-prone practices. Together these blunders cause decision makers to jump to premature conclusions. They over estimate the clarity of the issue, the reliability of the data, the effectiveness of the options, and the commitment of the implementers. Failed decisions spiral into additional problems, waste time and energy, and engender feelings of frustration and resentment.

In this opening module, learn about:

  • What decision making is and is not
  • Factors that contribute to flawed decisions; perceptual, cognitive and social
  • 3 types of decisions; quick, significant and strategic
  • 8 criteria for high quality decisions

b) The Key Ingredients for Effective Decision Making

How do we help decision makers breakaway from convention, embrace fresh ideas, and work across boundaries? Effective decision makers frame the right questions, and then engage in a process of learning by involving the right people, collecting and analyzing relevant data and generating options that can be tested and refined. They also encourage innovation, realistically estimate benefits and risks, and voice ethical questions. The idea is to approach decision making like a designer, first uncovering the core ‘needs’ related to your dilemma, before generating and testing options, to arrive at decisions that merge desires, actions and outcomes.

In this module, learn about:

  • A process that knits together thinking tools and techniques to arrive at high quality decisions
  • Approaches for engaging system stakeholders so that relevant perspectives and expertise are tapped, and implementers are meaningful involved and energized for action

c) Data Analytics and Visualization Techniques

More and more, strategic decisions are being made from a base of data analytics. Executive level decision makers want data driven analysis and insights to understand optional solutions and to offer guidance on the best actions to take. We’ve invited a data analytics guru to share insights on how you can leverage analytics to inform your strategic dilemmas.

In this module, learn about:

  • The power of data analytics, with real life examples related to HR decision making
  • Identifying outcomes and indicators for your strategic decision making needs
  • Working with your IT and analytics colleagues to acquire the analytics you need
  • Useful tools for visualizing the data and culling insights from the data
  • The art of influencing, and making the case for optimal solutions

Learning Outcomes

Learn how to:

  • Use the 8 criteria of high quality decisions to assess the effectiveness of your decisions
  • Diagnose the factors that sabotage thinking and lead to failed decisions
  • Assess the complexity of strategic decisions, given factors such as urgency, impact, uncertainty and ambiguity
  • Use a decision making approach that best fits the decision dynamics
  • Use the decision making cycle to overcome decision biases and enhance the quality of decisions
  • Engage stakeholders in a robust process to enhance ‘thinking together’ for generative results and aligned action


Organizational Benefits

  • Enhanced capability to break away from convention, embrace fresh ideas, and work across boundaries
  • Greater knowledge of decision making as a process that includes: identifying desired results, searching widely, encouraging innovation, and realistically estimating the benefits and risks
  • Well-designed, workable solutions that key stakeholders are energized to implement

Takeaway Tools

  • Decision Quality Analysis Tool
  • The Critical Decision Making Cycle
  • The 4-D Decision Making Process
  • Decision Making Workbook

Who Should Attend

HR and OD practitioners, project leaders, and managers who have responsibility for strategic decision making

Facilitators and Speakers

Lead Facilitator(s)

Brenda Barker Scott

Brenda Barker Scott is a groundbreaker with a passion for creating workplaces that inspire, connect and grow people. Over her twenty-year career in teaching and consulting, Brenda has led ambitious renewal efforts aimed at enhancing innovation and collaboration with provincial governments and agencies, school boards, not-for-profits and private firms.

When working with leadership teams, she combines strong theoretical knowledge with practical methodologies to ensure that the right people are engaged in the right conversations to design robust and workable strategies.

Brenda is co-author of Building Smart Teams: A Roadmap to High Performance (Sage 2004), and is currently undertaking field...

Read the full bio for Brenda Barker Scott

Guest Speaker(s)

*The roster of speakers is subject to change.

Venues and Accommodations

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I register for a program?

You can register online, call us toll-free at 1-888-858-7838, or email us at Once you register, we will send you a confirmation by email. Information about the program location, check-in time, and the agenda will follow.

How do I pay for the program?

If you are registering online, you may pay by Visa or MasterCard.  You may also choose to be invoiced first, and pay by cheque (payable to Queen's University) or credit card. You may also wish to call us with your credit card number to make the payment.

If your organization is tax exempt, we will require a copy of your tax exemption certificate.

Do you offer discounts?

Yes. We offer an Early-Bird discount.  If you register 60 days before the start of a program, you will save $300 on the tuition of four- and five-day programs, and $150 on two- and three-day programs.

If you register three people from the same organization in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 10% discount on program fees. If you register five or more people in the same program at the same time, you will receive a 20% discount.

If you know you will be pursuing a Queen's Certificate and would like to remit tuition in one payment before your first program, we offer a special fee with a considerable saving. Contact us at for more information.

Please note that only one discount may be applied.

What is included in the registration fee?

Program fees include tuition, workbook materials, lunches, and some dinners. You are responsible for transportation, accommodation, and some meals.

Once I enroll in a program, may I cancel without penalty?

Substitutions are permitted with no penalty 8 days or more from the program start date.
Substitutions 7 days or less before the program start date will be subject to a $500 charge.
Transfers and cancellations are permitted with no penalty up to 15 days prior to the program start date.
Transfers and cancellations 14 days or less from the program start date will be subject to a 100% charge of the program fee.

Where does the program take place?

Our programs typically take place at a hotel. This information can be found in the tab above, called Venue and Accommodations.

I would like to make my travel plans.  What are the start and end times for the program?

Information coming soon.

If I am working towards a Queen's IRC Certificate, which course should I take first?

You may take the programs in any order that reflects your learning needs at the time. Our certificates feature a core program or programs that introduce you to what we consider the core competencies of the field. The remaining programs offer a deeper exploration of each area. For this reason, we find that participants in the certificate stream benefit most by taking the foundational program first.

My level of expertise is above the foundational program for the certificate I am working on. Do I still need to take that program to earn a certificate?

Queen's IRC offers participants maximum flexibility to customize their individual training needs. Upon request, participants with advanced expertise may skip the foundational program, and choose another program from our entire program lineup, for credit towards a certificate. Participants must earn 12 credits to earn a certificate.

How long do I have to complete a certificate?

We attach no timeline for achieving your certificate. Once you have earned a credit, you have earned the credit. We do recommend, however, that participants complete their certificate within one to six years. Most people earn their certificates within three years.

What if I want to take one of your programs but do not want to pursue a certificate?

That's fine. All of our programs may be taken individually, and you can mix and match the courses in labour relations, human resources and organization development, depending on your learning needs. At the conclusion of each program, you are given a certificate of completion.

I have taken a custom program with the IRC.  Will this count towards a certificate?

Yes. Participants who take an IRC custom program may also use their training days as credits towards a certificate.

If I have other questions, who may I speak with personally?

For a program registration query, please feel free to call us at 1-888-858-7838 or 613-533-6628. To reach the Director and staff members, consult our online directory. To reach one of our facilitators, please contact Stephanie Noel at 613-533-6000 ext. 77088 or