A real-life Story on Decision Making at work: From Confusion to Conclusion

Consultivo Blog | Training | Problem Solving & Decision Making
| Competence Building

This real-life story on decision making will help you to understand what is problem-solving and decision making in management practices. The story on decision making provides an insight into our thinking process. Making a decision has never been a mindless habit. Every time it’s a conscious effort to achieve higher rates of success.

It was a hot sunny summer day. A tired man was walking through a desert. Not a further drop of water was with him anymore. He felt helpless and thought he would certainly die if he could not meet his thirst.

Still keeping a ray of hope in mind, he was moving forward. He was slackening his pace but couldn’t afford to stop. After all, he had lost his way as well.

Suddenly, he saw a hut. He could not believe his eyes. Was that a mirage? He wondered if he was just hallucinating. Gathering his last drop of energy, he reached the endpoint.

The hut was abandoned. No one was there. Then his heart skipped a beat. Strangely enough, he saw a hand pump. What a blessing! But his over-excitement soon came down when he saw no water coming out from it.

He was about to give up out of despair

Then he watched the room carefully. Unexpectedly, he noticed a bottle of water in the corner of the room. Would that meet his thirst?

His gut feeling dragged him to that corner. There he saw a piece of paper under that bottle. It was written, “Use this water to start the pump. Forget not to refill this bottle and re-corked it properly.” Out of curiosity, he turned the paper. There was a map on which the next location of getting water was pointed out, which was far from the hut.

And here the dilemma started!

What should he do now? He stopped and thought for a moment. He can simply drink that bottle of water and save his life instantly. But, in that case, he would not be able to carry along any water on his way ahead. Also, no one else who would turn up there will get a drop to save their life.

But if he chooses to follow the instruction of the paper and that didn’t work, he would simply die.

That single bottle of water might be used to satisfy his immediate need and suffer later or to meet the immediate and long-term expectations both.

In any case, he had to take a risk – sooner or later. Uncertainty of the result gave birth to confusion in his mind. His hands were shivering, he closed his eyes and stayed praying. He controlled the emotion, applied his reasoning, and opted for the second choice.


Hurray! He shouted at the top of his voice.

To his great delight, cool refreshing water came out of the pump in a glug-glug noise. He drank it like a thirsty crow, refilled the bottle and corked it as per instruction. Moreover, he added under the instruction, “Believe me, it works.”

He also refilled his containers, rested a while, and started his journey once again with a smile on his face. Is it sheer luck or simple logic structure enabled him to make such a complex decision?

This story on decision making reminds me of a real-life situation. I’ve heard it from a very senior airport manager.

North East of India is the land of seven sisters and there was a small airport surrounded by small hills & tea gardens on the bank of River Barak. The in-charge of the airport was very enthusiastic and dynamic personality. Once they hosted a sports meet in the residential complex of the airport. They invited all the nearby organisations for participation. The in-charge deputed many people to do various activities. But when it came to the trivial activities like cutting of grass and making the ground ready, the staff members were reluctant to do so. Everything was jeopardised.

They conveyed that it was not a part of their regular duty.

The in-charge thought for a while and changed his uniform and with a grass-cutter, he himself went out to cut the grasses. Suddenly there was magic, and all the sub staff started to work with the officer. So what was that?

Yes, it was the right decision taken by the officer at the right time when the time was a constraint and the best preparation was required.

Decision making in management practices is indeed a very critical and cerebral process.

Decision-making is an art. It is also based on science and techniques.

Often we ask ourselves what is decision making and how we can make the ‘right’ decision?

The success of the decision-making process lies in one’s ability to analyse the situation (problem statement), antecedents of the behaviours and related risks and opportunities. Once we find out multiple options, a rational decision has to be taken. decision-making plays a pivotal role in all organisations. That’s what we learned from this story on decision making and it helped in problem-solving.

Decision making in management practices plays a very vital role in individual and organisational success.

In everyday life, we have to take our own journey and make our own decision. An informed decision is always better than an instant decision.

Put aside convention, unwanted advice, and judgments from others and believe in yourself. Actually, decision making in management or in our personal life is a process as well as interpersonal skill, which should be nourished. The process facilitates us to be rational – morally and emotionally.

Decision making is a process.

Decision making can be learnt.

Decision making skill can be nurtured.

Improving decision making skill will come from the learning gained from the experience. Applying both intuition and reasoning, decision making can be nurtured.

Making a good decision is a crucial skill at every level. What’s our cost of confusion and value of clarity? It is time to think.

What’s right may not be always popular & what’s popular might not be always right.

Share this post

About the author


Director – Sustainable solutions at Consultivo

Madhabi Guha is the co-founder and Director – Sustainable Solutions at Consultivo (www.consultivo.in).

She focuses on supporting go-to-market teams along with customer and partner relationships. Madhabi has been working in the sustainability & business excellence advisory business for over 12 years. Madhabi has been developing individuals, teams, and organizations in the areas of leadership, excellence and Human Factors in the field of sustainability, people and community.

She has the hands-on experience to help the world’s leading companies in the areas of CSR, Social Impact, Sustainability, ESG, Due-diligence, Capacity Development, and Culture Change.

Related insights

This website uses cookies

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience with Consultivo. Some are necessary for this site to function; others help us understand how you use the site to improve the digital experience.