by Jenny Junkeer

Decisions come in all shapes and sizes. The choices, whether big or small, can make or break a chain. So what does your decision-making chain look like? Well, in any given organisation, decisions are now made in multiple spots in the ladder or hierarchy; by a range of different people; or as a result of information and communication technological advancements, by software. Decision-making must be addressed on all scales – minor decisions, high risk decisions – and with employees of all levels.

Pursue smart decisions

Acknowledge that smarter decision-making is a SKILL.

More often than not, we presume that logic is innate – and while this is true, everyone’s innate logic is unique. We too easily assume that logic is mutually understood without ever articulating ourselves. Decision-making, like any other soft skill in business, requires practice, guidance, experience and knowledge. Despite how much decision-making can affect an organisation, we rarely endow sufficient time and energy to decision-making procedures. Typically, we consider a very limited set of options when we make decisions, especially when we are under stressed conditions. We need to actively practise smarter decision-making – involving innovative thinking, pragmatism and compliance with governance frameworks.

Create a framework – McNulty’s 4R Test.

Smart decision-making procedures must be built to overcome the common traps and the unexpected traps.

While there is no set organisational decision-making framework, as the DNA of every organisation is unique, there is a plethora of existing decision-making theory from which to draw your own unique framework.

For example, Eric J. McNulty of Strategy-Business created his own “4R Test”, based on his research and experience with leaders and decision making.

His test creates a memorable acronym to go through four major considerations to make when making decisions:

Regret; ask yourself what you might regret if you do not act and are wrong – if the answer is ‘a lot’ then you might need to make the decision sooner rather than later.

Repeal; ask yourself how easy it will be to reverse if need be?

Repercussions; ask yourself who and what will be affected by the decision? If impact is large then consider the decision more thoroughly.

Resilience: ask yourself about the impact your decision will have on your personal and organisational resilience?

This is just one example of a framework that could be put into place.

Be aware of the emotions that affect decision-making.

Being under stressed conditions can drastically affect your decision-making ability. Therefore, being under overly relaxed conditions can also affect your choices. Yes, we can put measures into place to maintain a healthy workplace culture, but mood will always be difficult to regulate given that it is affected by so many external and internal factors. Glucose level, sleepiness, hydration and hormones all play roles in your ability to evaluate. Being aware of your emotions and how they might be influencing your decisions is the best way to take control. Take control of these emotions and ensure your workplace culture makes space for mood regulation, recharging and in turn, better reflection.

Ground yourself – be humble.

With confidence comes power. Sometimes, with power comes hierarchy. A common weakness in decision-making is a result of inflated ego and pretentious levels of confidence. Good leadership and decision-making does not equate with powerful ego. Often, people in power who make decisions have too much pride to take advice from their subordinates or even other members of management; or too much confidence in their own choices.

In addition to the risk that toxic power adds to decision making, power also affects employees’ approach to communication. With such hierarchies in place, fear to seek help when needed or ask simple questions might not only result in process errors and increased risk of poor decisions; but also pollutes your organisational culture. Remember that a variety of fresh and honest opinions from colleagues (of all levels) can be valuable input and most importantly empowering to your people and organisation as a whole.

If you need assistance in holistically addressing decision-making, governance frameworks and workplace culture; Intent has the knowledge and experience to transform and empower your organisation. Book a free initial consultation now.

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