Mar 08, 2017
We love decisive people. They are the ones who get social events organised; attract people to them like magnets and the ones you want by your side when trouble comes knocking, as they seem to instinctively know what to do. Not everyone is born decisive - sometimes it's a skill that needs to be learned and honed to perfection.
We have all come across those people who can’t make a decision – and the level of frustration they induce has a knock-on effect making others second guess themselves and induce a lethargy that holds business back. Sometimes even the wrong decision can be better than no decision at all! US President Teddy Roosevelt said, "In any moment of decision, the best you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing."
Decisions need to be taken not only on a day-by-day basis but also from minute to minute in a volatile world the information from smart analytics is burgeoning.
We need to be sure what aspect of the issue at hand is the one that needs a decision. For example if sales are falling we need to know whether it is a global trend, external issues affecting sales, whether the marketing department is not performing or whether production or dispatch have problems before we start making the wrong decisions/action plans.
Personnel within a company will have their theories on what decision is to be made but often their theories may not take into account other departments. So while you may listen to their ideas it is important to try and maintain perspective and not be swayed by persuasive individuals.
Very often input from those within the company can be affected by people’s vested interests within the company, silo thinking and traditional approaches. To gain a good overview before making a decision research books and articles as well as tapping into the opinions of other leaders.
Gather your information then use the Pugh Matrix, developed by Glascow University professor, Stuart Pugh, to assist in making decisions when there are a number of alternatives to choose from. For example only one product can be developed from a range of 4 similar prototypes, so the ideas are evaluated according to the most important criteria selected. Alternatively the Pugh Matrix can be used to extract the best aspects of each prototype to use in developing a new product. This allows for reasoned and rational decision making that can be done alone or in a team.
It is natural for humans to want to maintain the status quo and resist change. It takes courage to make daring and often unpopular decisions which may be resisted by others simply because it wasn’t their idea.
A leader may lack the moral support of staff until they see the decision made is actually for the betterment of the company. This is why leaders can sometimes feel isolated and need a support network of mentors and other decision-makers who have been through the same scenarios to reassure them.
For a decision to have a successful outcome it needs to be clearly conveyed, and here the quote attributed to Confucius can be implemented: I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. People will need to be shown how a decision affects them so there can be no assumptions about how it needs to be implemented. Lack of communication can result in unforeseen consequences that could end up costing goodwill and cash. Also, staff need to know that a decision made will be followed up and they cannot simply ignore it or carry on as usual after a couple of weeks if it is perceived that there will be no consequences.
Newton’s third law of physics states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – and when you make decision you have to bear in mind the consequences of each action. How will they impact on staff, sales, customers, and the environment? While a decision in the short-term may seem to offer the most expedient solution you have to assess the long-term effects of that decision and how it will affect the lives of those around you. This shouldn’t be daunting – there are multi-million dollar industries dedicated to helping people make informed decisions with advanced programs to assess the future impact of those decisions.
However when fear of failure and criticism holds you back from making decisions that will help you realise your full potential as well as that of your business then it’s time to initiate a change. At the end of a well lived life you want to feel that you made the correct decision along the way that allowed you to live the best life possible.
If you want to learn more about DECISION MAKING then check out www.thevisionlabs.com workshops and events.