Missing the Mark in Decision Making

David  -  Jan 20, 2014  -  , , ,  -  Comments Off on Missing the Mark in Decision Making

720thinking provides a framework for decision making that allows leaders to discover their own decision making style and then determine whether it is really working for them.  Baseball players have their batting averages and basketball players have their shooting percentages and points per game. Politicians have their pollsters to let them know what percentage of voters support them.  What if leaders had a Correct Decision Index (CDI)? What if it was published for investors, peers and decision1employees to mull? might that concern them enough to force them to thin about questions such as decision making methodology, potential consequences of decisions, success rates and money saved or earned as a result of decisions? In fact, maybe the smart ones would even tie their bonuses to improvements in CDI.

How would a concerned leader go about improving decision making and quantifying their improvement? Let’s say an executive makes ten decisions per day. That comes to fifty in an average work week, and for argument’s sake, 2,500 per year. A one percent improvement would be twenty five better decisions per year, or one every two weeks.  A ten percent improvement would be one decision per day.  It would seem to be easily doable, right?  But exactly how?

Let’s break decisions into two broad types. First are choices the leader makes to take or not take certain course of actions. They are command and control decisions and include pursuing a new market, changing a pricing strategy, financing and investment of resources in infrastructure and hiring and firing of key employees.  The second type would be decisions on the empowerment of employees. These decisions involve the degree of delegation of authority and good decisions by the leader in this area should result in good decisions being made be subordinates.

In the first case, if a leader desires to improve decision making, 720thinking would look at a number of factors.  They include:

  • Decision making speed
  • How much data is utilized in making decisions vs. intuition or assumption
  • What an acceptable accuracy percentage is
  • What the measures of successful decision making are
  • Built in assumptions, biases, beliefs and influences that exist for a given leader
  • Whether multiple options are always considered, with a review of potential rewards and consequences of each

Examination of the above factors would provide a pretty good picture of how a leader makes decisions and the steps that could be taken to ensure wiser decisions.  Some leaders do not have the patience for undergoing such a careful examination.  For them, a critical measure might be to just consider one question. Does this decision get our company closer to the fulfillment of our mission/vision/goals? Or, is this action consistent with our culture?

In the second case, where the decisions involve giving authority to others to make decisions, the factors 720thinking examines include:

  • Experience
  • Degree of trust
  • Importance of the actiondecision3
  • Area of responsibility
  • Accountability

Each of the above factors can be broken into sub-categories to really “get granular.”  The more an individual is willing to probe into the decision making process, the more there is to examine.  720thinking offers a Decision Making model and a Critical Thinking Quotient™ that offer a framework for this exploration.  Why do it?  How much could better decision making be worth to an individual? A company?

If a golfer can cure a slice in her swing, it changes her entire game.  With the Olympics coming up in a few weeks, we will see numerous events decided by as little as one tenth of a second.  Little things make a big difference.  It can be the same in business- gold medal or also ran?

The great ones use every tool to their advantage. They look for every edge.  Business leaders can take lessons from them.  Decision making skills can be honed to get better results. What would a 1% or 10% improvement mean to you and your business?  Changing habits is possible. Try to think of a good reason not to do it.



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