TMA World Viewpoint 35: A Guide to Effective Decision Making

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Effective decision making can be a complicated process, which requires leaders and managers to gather all available and relevant facts and take account of the consequences of their decision on their team and organization.

This TMA World guide has been prepared to assist leaders and managers in making the decisions that best benefit themselves, their team and their organization.

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TMA World Viewpoint 35: A Guide to Effective Decision Making

  1. 1. A Guide to Effective Decision Making
  2. 2. Effective Decision Making When it comes to decision making, it’s a simple truth that not enough managers commit a sufficient amount of time or attention to how they approach this crucial process. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 2
  3. 3. Effective Decision Making Ineffective decision making can lead to numerous problems and take up valuable time and resources to correct. At the very least, poor decisions hamper performance and achievement of the goals set. At worst, it can lead to the loss of livelihoods — or even lives, depending on the type of business you’re involved in. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 3
  4. 4. 4 So what is the root cause of this? Not surprisingly – there can be many reasons. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  5. 5. 5 Effective decision making  For some, it’s a question of procrastination. This tends to be amplified when the decision to be made is a critical one with significant consequences if things don’t go according to plan. For others, it can be a question of going with your gut instinct as that’s the way you’ve always approached it.  Another reason can be because a manager has weak prioritization skills – not investing the time and effort required to gain all the necessary information that will facilitate a good decision making strategy.  Leadership style may also play a factor in the quality of a decision made.  Do you delegate instead of direct? © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  6. 6. 6 Effective decision making  Do you direct when you should be taking a more consultative approach and involving the relevant parties in the decision making process?  Throw into the mix the need to consider the issue of ethics when making decisions and you can see how many managers can stumble into any one of the numerous potholes peppered in the road that leads to successful decision making. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  7. 7. 7 This begs the question: What does it take to make good, sound decisions? © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  8. 8. 8 Different decisions require different approaches! First of all, when approaching the decision making process, it’s not one size fits all. A major challenge for even the most experienced of managers is acting out of habit and going with what they are familiar with. Effective managers know this and understand that different decisions require different approaches. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  9. 9. 9 Different decisions require different approaches! Decisions come in all shapes and sizes; some are simple – others more complex. Some decisions are required to be made in real time, others are more strategic, longer-term plans. However, the key point to note here is that the particular circumstances surrounding a decision should guide the approach taken as much as is feasibly possible. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  10. 10. 10 Those different decision making approaches include: Authoritarian Hierarchical, top down Consensus Collaborate as a team to reach an agreement Contingent Triggers based upon facts Democratic Voting or polling methods, allowing the majority vote to decide Elected Nominate a person or group to decide © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  11. 11. 11 Understanding and choosing the right approach will increase the likelihood of the right decision being made. Once this has been done, a manager needs to consider a process to put in place. A suggested process for effective decision making involves: Identifying the Clearly defining necessary roles Gathering the problem Evaluating information © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Identifying alternative solutions information systematically Selecting the Validating the best solution solution
  12. 12. 12 An ethical decision making tool: IRIS The IRIS tool is a robust means of asking a manager to analyze and consider all angles of an issue rather than solely considering what is right or wrong. When applying IRIS, a manager is required to scrutinize the issue at hand, asking: What could do? What should I do? © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. What must I do? When they have come to their decision a further question needs to be answered: Does the decision I have made still stand the test of scrutiny?
  13. 13. 13 The following provides the considerations at each phase Identify:  The participants: Who are the key stakeholders?  The potential effects: How is the key stakeholder potentially affected?  The perspectives: What are the competing perceptions of the situation?  Pinpoint the issues: What are the specific issues and concerns? © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  14. 14. 14 The following provides the considerations at each phase Reflect on:  The options: What are the options and the associated risks?  The objections: How will stakeholders respond? What objections may arise?  The outcomes: What are the potential intended and unintended consequences of the options in terms of the duration and severity of their impact?  Then optimize: What decision produces the optimal result? © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  15. 15. 15 The following provides the considerations at each phase Integrity of the decision so that it is:  Compliant: Is the decision fully compliant?  Consistent: Is the decision consistent with the core values of the organization?  Candid: Is the decision open and transparent?  Clear: Is the decision ethically comprehensible to stakeholders? © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  16. 16. 16 The following provides the considerations at each phase Scrutiny: Of the decision  Discern: What ‘message’ does the decision convey?  Distort: Can it be a misunderstood or misrepresented decision?  Durability: Will the decision withstand scrutiny today and in the future?  Diminish: Could the decision diminish or damage the reputation of the organization? © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  17. 17. 17 Quick Decision Making Finally, let’s consider some of the success factors behind quick decision making Don’t rush unnecessarily:  Assess if it’s both important and urgent Have all necessary information:  If the information can be obtained quickly, then get it  If it cannot be obtained • What worked before? • Who has more experience? Review your decision afterwards:  How can such a situation be prevented?  Can you make a checklist?  What went well, what did not? © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  18. 18. Effective Decision Making This article has addressed the consequences of not getting decision making right and has presented some best practice tips that will ensure a greater chance of success. Doing this will allow any manager to avoid those potholes and move forward with greater confidence. © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 18
  19. 19. About Us 19 Webinar Twitter Blog Viewpoints and articles Publications Written by Terence Brake, Director of Learning & Innovation at TMA World. Visit www.tmaworld.com/insights to discover the latest thinking from our experts on global, collaborative, cross-cultural and virtual working. There you’ll find links to our: Our new Borderless Working e-book series Above all we’d like to hear from you directly, so please don’t hesitate to send any comments, questions or feedback to us at: enquiries@tmaworld.com © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  20. 20. 20 About Us Visit www.tmaworld.com/insights to discover the latest thinking from our experts Above all we’d like to hear from you directly, so please don’t hesitate to send any comments, questions or feedback to us at: enquiries@tmaworld.com on global, collaborative, cross-cultural and virtual working. Or visit our website: www.tmaworld.com © Transnational Management Associates Ltd. All Rights Reserved.

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