What decisions have led you to reading this blog right now?
- Opening up a subscribed email?
- Selecting the link to this particular blog over or inclusive of others?
- Choosing a prescribed or unprescribed part of your day to read this blog?
Many of these decisions, as discussed in Neil Russell-Jones ‘Decision Making Pocketbook’, would have been made subconsciously, unless you have proactively (consciously) searched to find a blog on decision making.
Why should I spend time intentionally thinking about decision making?
Whether we are at work or during our personal lives, as mentioned, many of the decisions we make are subconscious (made while we are on autopilot). However, I’m sure we can all agree that work related decisions (whether made for personal or organisational reasons) are made with a higher degree of consciousness given the influence on an outcome such decisions may have, for example:
- Do I need to start performance managing an employee?
- Which candidate is best suited to our vacant role?
- Which would be the best route to take to get to the conference on time?
- How and what goals should we set this year?
As we enter a new year, with new goals and objectives this blog aims to provide a high-level overview on tools and techniques that can be used to make balanced decisions that may very well aid you in meeting such goals, minimise risk and add value to your organisation.
What makes a good decision maker?
Decision making process
Before commencing a decision-making process, ask yourself:
- Who should be involved in this process? Can I utilise someone else’s expertise?
- What were the outcomes of a similar decision that needed to be made before?
- What is the level of urgency and importance?
Wherever your situation or need sits in its level of urgency or importance, the below process can assist in making a structured and logical decision:
- Define the real need / decision that needs to be made.
What is my objective in making this decision?
- Understand the context in which the decision needs to be made
What are the factors that will influence the situation? Who and what will be impacted by your decision?
- Identify the options
What type of analysis can be conducted? Can we get more creative? How can we get diverse perspectives and experiences?
- Evaluate the consequences of each option (decision support analysis)
What is the best analysis tool that can be used to evaluate? Which option has the most acceptable consequences based on the context? What is the probability of negative consequences occurring? Do the pros outweigh the cons?
- Prioritise the options and choose one
Is even no action the possible best action? Is there a culture that supports innovative / risky decision making? Should you conduct an option assessment matrix e.g.:
- Objective / probability of meeting objective / value of objective if met; or
- Cost V priority; or
- Urgency V importance; or
- Discretion / authority V goal alignment; or
- Ethical V moral)
- Review the decision taken (can it be re-worked)
How can this best be reviewed (data / information) or (periodically, adhoc or sequentially)?
- Take action
What steps should you take next? Generally this could be:
Make decision > communication to stake holders (consult, tell, delegate and / or get buy-in) > plan implementation > execute implementation > review
Communicating a decision
Before communicating, think about…
- What people need to be communicated to?
- Does different messaging need to be provided based on target audience?
- What content needs to be included in messaging?
- What forum or technology can be used to best deliver the decision effectively?
- What barriers may prevent your decision being communicated effectively?
- What would be the best day, time and situation to deliver message?
- Is there someone else who is best to deliver the message, if not the decision maker?
When communicating, structure by…
- Highlighting the situation / need
- Clearly outline the conclusion of decision
- Demonstrate how you got there (analysis’ conducted, or other supporting evidence)
- Respond to adverse outcomes (prepare where possible)
- Finalise and agree how this will be monitored and reviewed (if applicable)
Supporting decision making
Another way to ensure that you can make a firm decision and be confident that it was the logical one to make at the time, is to seek expertise if required.
When it comes to managing people or making strategic HR-related decisions, Employment Innovations offer HR Partners that work as an extension of your Management team in supporting your organisation in this area.
About Employment Innovations
Employment Innovations is one of Australia’s leading providers of employment services designed to increase productivity and ensure compliance. Its services and solutions include all the tools that every Australian small to medium sized employer needs – including workplace advice, legal services, payroll solutions, migration, human resource management and HR software.
The information provided in these blog articles is general in nature and is not intended to substitute for professional advice. If you are unsure about how this information applies to your specific situation we recommend you contact Employment Innovations for advice.