Saturday, February 04, 2006

About making decisions

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Sunday, January 29, 2006

About making decisions

All of us make decisions all the time. Some decisions are trivial and we make them ourselves, some that effect those beyond ourselves we make in consultation with our friends,family and colleagues and still others we let others make for us.
Decision making from a corporate "leader's" perspective is a tough exercise for it impacts the workplace, shareholders and employees. Also her decisions are being closely scrutinized by many people . It is important that leaders spend more effort than others in arriving at 'optimal' decisions. Having said that every decision from a particular vantage point will be suboptimal for it may not cater to a particular vested interest. It should be considered optimal if it seeks to advance the corporate charter without being too machiavellian (though some would disagree with me here)??.
Whatever the moralistic basis the mechanics of arriving at a decision is very important. It is important that a leader is not biased with his own gut feel or the initial inputs that he receives. Sometimes seeking for alternatives leads one to see things in a completely new perspective which may lead to a different decision. Therefore, in arriving at a decision that has company wide ramification it is important that we are not steeped completely in historical context. This inclination may distort objectivity in decision making. On the contrary good decisions are made when we go out of our way to seek newer options and alternatives, restate our original premises, back our decisions with quantitative data where possible and test our hypothesis. Given the uncertain environment that surrounds business, the quick pace of change and the need to often make adjustments to synchronize with the external world a decision, when made, should never be carved in stone. It should have options for modification.
I have found that while an objective decision making process is certainly very important in itself, equally importantis participants to buy into the decision - for they are the ones who would ultimately live by or implement the decision. This at times meant tireless campaigning, one to one sessions with people and other attempts towards building trust and emotional commitment around the decision. I found also found that my personal traits( as others saw them subjectively) such as my character, style, past actions and behaviour materially affected the degree of buy in I got. It is my belief that clear unambiguous open support for the decision from most quarters contributed in substantial measure towards the effectiveness of implementation effectiveness of the decision.


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