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, any decisions made will 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

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Things to start thinking about

Use these prompts to reflect on your understanding of Situational decision-making and uncover areas for future professional development.

  1. How do you take account of the specific situation or context when making choices or decisions?

  2. How did you balance opportunity and risk in the last decision you made?

  3. How often do you develop a range of options before making or advising on a decision?

  4. What have you put in place to identify or anticipate changes to your environment that may impact on your choices and decisions?