(This is Part 2 of the article “3 BIG mistakes of Organizations impacting long-term growth”)
The second all-pervasive mistake in most organisations is: making decisions in the absence of a rigorous, deliberate and normalised Decision Making process. We would like to call such a process “Decisioning” to distinguish it from the rigorous Decision Making Science and practices, which form the life blood of decisioning. Let us delve in the wider context to precipitate this distinction.
The world is in a hurry. Confidence is touting as worthiness. Hustling is the proxy for Leadership. Being decisive is passing off as being a good decision maker (taker?). It reeks of an ancient and animal power mechanism, sheathed in garb of modern rituals in the meeting rooms.
There is a silver lining though. While perpetual meetings are a drain, these could be off setting the ill effects of the absoluteness mentioned above. And taking us a step, nay even a leap, closer to decisioning.
A balanced group is likely to provide multiple views and implicitly ensure that all possible perspectives and relevant information is covered to a reasonable extent.
But then there is a dark clouds which looms large around that silver lining. Decisions, even at the Board level for Enron, Yahoo and those big banks, and closer home, Satyam, tell us how decisions even at the top levels are really about hustling, hunch, intuition and biases. No formal, deliberate, and rigorous process is being followed inspite of Decision Making being such a developed domain. Though the avarice dilutes as we go down the echelons of power, can we really expect that the deliberation is happening at lower levels? This introspection needs to begin not just with the titular heads, but anyone who cares enough to be a change maker.
How many times do Leaders stop to look at HOW they arrived at a particular decision? Even more critical question is, how many times do the leaders pick up the process(es) and/or model(s) of decision making before they start making a decision, stick to it AND have an observer/coach/expert monitoring the quality of the execution and coverage of that decision making process?
Commission a Decisioning Coach, a la personal fitness trainer, who doesn’t provide the content, but only recommends and monitors that a process, along with pre-agreed parameters and criteria, is adhered to.
The world could do with going beyond equating leadership with the abilty to take quick and firm decisions only. I would want to call such quick decision making “Choicing”, an intuitive ability based on experience and intelligence to arrive at a quick choice on course of action. A bias for action just laps it up! But without complementing it with “Decision Making”, (going through a Formal, Deliberate, and rigorous process) it is impure and incomplete.
Decisioning then becomes Choicing and Decision Making, combined.
Decisioning = Choicing + Decision Making
There would be times when Choicing and DM would be at loggerheads. The leader would then take the call, one side for the other. Akio Morita did not let the market research change his choice for launching the legendary “Walkman”. Ultimately his decision, the choice prevailed.
Decisioning in such instances would be the discretion of the leader to take the call based on the DM output OR choicing output.
The role of a leader does not disappear. In fact, the real leaders would welcome any step towards automating and sytemically solving problems, including this one.
They welcome the call taking coming to them as rarely as possible and even when it comes to them, to have highest quality of processing backing it up.
Indeed, it is a long haul to imbibe all this in the system. But we can move a couple of steps closer to scenario where decisions are taken with an advanced commitment and clarity of HOW. The original premise, context and assumptions would be at hand as reminders. Any decision would be available to be looked back empirically by independent observers to see how it panned out, where the quality of decisions can be further improved as a systemic process, and not as an isolated incidence.
Most importantly, we can bring in objective governance and systemic long-term growth through improved quality of decision making.