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Decision Making

From the time you wake up in the morning till the time you retired to bed at night the whole duration of the time is composed of a series of transactions which calls for decision making. We make them, else we find we are not moving.

Wonder how many of you can recall when did you first take the first decision of your life - big, small, significant, insignificant. Has it been told to you that you can't take decisions or have you grown to become reliant on some one else taking the decisions for you.

When you go to work, you are not told in clear terms if you can decide or someone else needs to decide. Most companies do not have crystal clear lines of decision-making authority. The "good news" is that, in my experience, the executives who successfully clarify the scope of their decision-making power - those who help the organization gain this clarity - achieve superior project execution and are appreciated for their leadership skills.
Management might recommend, take a leadership role. Fine, but, how is this done?

Does someone nominate you as a leader, or you nominate and proclaim yourself as a leader, or how?

The ambiguity around decision-making authority is in every culture. In an entrepreneurial culture this is an opportunity for those who are willing to take authority and drive to execution to shine. The possible answer lies in any one or all of the following statements. Take some decision-making latitude for the sake of getting things done and showing leadership.

Make it your goal to clarify your decision-making authority in your organization.

Assess your company's decision-making culture.

Assess your own comfort with decision-making authority and your decision-making style.

Then go about clarifying this with the organization....

Be able to discuss with others how you arrived at your decision. Be able to explain your decision making process in business terms.

Take action on your decision.

Be careful not to step on any toes.

Now meet with your boss and say: " I'd like to share my decision making process on this project. I am working on my decision-making abilities and clarifying my scope of authority in decision making. I would like your feedback since this decision touches so many departments."

Take an aggressive stance. In this meeting you are positioning your decision to your boss. You are not asking your boss to make the decision for you. Instead, you are asking for feedback on your decision making process.

Re-assess your company's decision-making culture. The meeting with your boss will help you look again at your organization and understand if people in power are expected to make quick decisions or if a more laid back, methodical decision-making process is valued.

Since most organizations have little clarity around the scope of executives' decision-making power, this is a key opportunity for you to take a leadership role in bring clarity for the entire organization - including yourself. Push the envelope to see what is and is not acceptable. Then use this experience to better understand what decision-making style your corporate culture values, where your boss draws your limits and what style will best serve your projects.

It may not seem sensible to have everyone involved in every decision, but making it a practice to include those affected whenever possible can increase the likelihood of getting real answers about feasibility and real commitment to making the decisions work. It may sound crazy, but what's crazier, giving them a choice or pretending they don't have it and living with the results?

Trying it on for fit:

Here are some tried and proven methods for increasing your probability of success obtaining commitment to decisions:

- Involve those affected in defining the problem, examining alternatives and making the decision.
- Always ask end users how, and if, a decision will work before moving ahead with it.
- Enlist, or charge, those impacted in/with finding the best ways to implement the decision.
- If large groups of people from distant locations are involved, have them select representatives who can communicate back and forth and ensure full support from the rank and file.
- Let go of the idea that those lower in the hierarchy have little or no choice. Whether or not they express it, they alone decide if they are to commit or not.
- In discussions with impacted employees or departments, encourage employees to challenge the decision and provide solutions to the problems identified.

Can this not be done in real life too, in our homes, in our communities, why only in organizations which employ us.

Author : R Bharadwaj 

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