Things We’ve Learned in 30 Years..
NEVER make a wrong decision?
Firstly, let’s put a clarification here: You can’t make a wrong decision if you’re acting in good faith.
OK, this sounds more like one of those woo-woo statements that might be generated by a consultant who can ultimately walk away from the job with no responsibility, but their pocket filled from your wallet. But it is actually an accepted position, not just a hard-learned viewpoint from the MATL perspective.
Because I’ve had a challenging nature from birth (just ask my Mum!), I always want to know why something is as it is and the reasons for that. The same has also gone for decision-making: why has a decision been taken in that way, which hasn’t always put me on the same path as my superiors or the chain of command, as that was seen as undermining authority (it’s all in the delivery – I’m much better at making these challenges to decision-making sound more reasonable now!).
We’re all making countless decisions every day. Some of these are pretty mundane (“What shall I eat for breakfast today?”, or “Do I have a latté or switch to tea?”) and have little bearing on anybody else (other than everyone in the queue behind you) as they’re usually based on our personal feelings and assumptions, whereas some have significant impact on other people and could be life-threatening such as on a military battlefield.
Every decision is based on a set of information, and it’s how we use and perceive that information which is important to what decision we take.
So far, nothing earth-shattering, and I’m not going to talk about decision-making itself, but how not to make a wrong one!
The key is to use ALL of the information that you have available to make that decision.
- The information that is available to YOU, not the information in existence across the universe (or at least the Web).
- If prejudice or history is known to you, then take that into consideration.
- If other people have expectations, then take those into consideration.
- If you don’t have the time to retrieve information that you think might influence your decision, then take that fact into consideration.
Demonstrating to yourself that you have taken into account all reasonable information is the equivalent of presenting a justification case to a senior board, only less time-consuming and your own choice of biscuits.
If, further down the line, your decision turns out to not be such a great idea, because of something that was unforeseen, or has changed, or new information has come to light, then rather than wallowing in the shame of feeling you made a wrong decision, you can be confident that you made the right decision based on the information known at the time.
With us going into other businesses, we find there are still many strategic decisions being made by “gut feelings”. That’s not to say that these are wrong, either, but how do you explain to someone else why you took that route, or how do you adapt if circumstances change?
We’ve found that gut-instinct often does lead to valid and appropriate decision-making, but that flash of inspiration gets lost and the involvement of other members of your team is also missed out. It’s a great way to train the next generation of business leaders.
So, if you consider all of the information at your disposal and act in good faith, then it should not be possible to make a wrong decision. An ill-informed, or inappropriate decision, maybe, but never actually “wrong”!
Get in touch today to allow us to find the information you need, so you can stop procrastinating and make more confident decisions.