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One of the greatest skills a leader can have is the ability to make effective business decisions. Business leaders make dozens of decisions every day that influence the success of the company while also having an impact on employees, customers or the marketplace. Developing such a skill requires a combination of education, experience and intuition.

There are many things that influence how an individual makes decisions. They include emotions, perceived personal and professional risks and rewards, preparation through experience or education, deadlines, stress and a host of others. It is important to mitigate the irrational and embrace the rational.

Whether decision-makers realize it or not, myriad factors must be taken into consideration before coming to a conclusion. Whether the decision-making skill is an innate gut feeling or one learned over the years, the bottom line is that being an effective decision-maker requires practice. Gayle Abbott, the president of Strategic Alignment Partners human resources consulting firm, recommends a four-point strategy to deploy whenever you must act:

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