In this region, with the diverse nationalities and cultures, the art of decision-making is often a painful process. Facts get lost in translation so a lot of the time, communications are made by email – Meaning a lot more people will have an input than perhaps should. So how can you ensure that you have all the relevant information, provided by the right people so you can make a correct decision?
Whether we are an over thinker, procrastinator, perfectionist or are just plain slow to act, you aren’t alone. Many people can identify themselves with one of these labels, and each of these mean we end up spending too much time over our decisions and not enough time acting on them. It’s not something to be embarrassed about – Even the greats like Warren Buffet are known to occasionally be slow on decision-making – And it cost him (financially) dearly. His choice was simple; keep or sell his Tesco shares. He kept his shares despite several ‘troubled’ months. In his 50th annual letter to share holders he admitted that he should have sold his shares earlier, “I made a big mistake with this investment by dawdling.” If he can be big enough to learn from this, we all can.
The best way to ensure that you are able to make decisions quickly is by investing some time up front as a team, to create the operating principals. If you have an inefficient or non-existent process when you first realise your dilemma, the speed of your decision will suffer.
Decide Who What Where
Establish who is liable for the decision. What this means is that certain decisions can be delegated – meaning more time for you to concentrate on other things. For example, a restaurant manager may want to hire three more employees and knows that they have the budgets to do so. But, the HR Director may want to assess the request and then find that actually, if the staff already in the restaurant were trained in the menu more efficiently, then only one member of employee would be required. In this instance, the process would be the restaurant manager would submit the request to the HR director for sign off.
Another example would be ordering stationary. A simple stationary order can be done by the office manager, but if 15 new computers were needed (circa USD20,000) for new joiners, then should this be signed off by the office manager or should the Financial Director keep this decision?
Allow for Risk
Always factor in an element of risk. If you are completely risk adverse you will find the ability to reach a decision quickly will be severely hampered.
Using the stationary example, are any other people needed to make the decision for the cupboard refills? Probably not. If you already have the basic details of the order needed, and it falls low, you can refill it without any additional notice. But will the purchasing computers for new joiners fall under this too? Will the office manager know all they need on each and every job for the person who will operate each and every computer? Unlikely. Therefore, would it not be more sensible to include someone from both HR and IT so you can establish you have the correct grade computers and software for the end user to effectively do their job?
You need to know what exactly you are asking for and how you will get the exact information that you will need to make that decision. You need to know who will provide the exact information required and when they should give it to you. The idea behind this is to eliminate input from more people then necessary. IF you include every tom, dick and harry in your decision the conflicting advice could muddy what you need to know and you may have to revisit the decision once it has been made.
If we think of what we hope our problem will look like ‘In the Future’ the problem that needs resolving is likely to look very different to how it does now. Trying to fix a problem both now and in the future will be far more challenging as there will be more variable. If you focus on the present you will find that you are able to establish the right choice for now. If that decision needs to be revised in 2 years time, then so be it – Your business will probably look slightly different then anyway as it evolves.
Act Quickly – Not Rashly
Think of all the questions you want answered so you can make your well-considered decision. Be clear on what you need, include links and examples in your emails and when speaking with your team. You must ensure that they fully understand all the implications of their work so that they will take the time to ensure that it is done properly and to the best of their ability.
The Good and Bad Choice
Nursery and Pre school children are taught to think of good and bad choices. These choices are very black and white. They have no room for grey. If you find you are given a multitude of choice, think along these lines – What is a good and what is bad. This will bring all options down to a very simple yes or no that you can then implement.
Implement a 5-Minute Rule
Give yourself a deadline of 5 minutes to reach the decision. If you have followed the process, you already have the information available to you so reaching a decision quickly should be simple.
Have a Plan B
I’m not going to sugar coat this – Even if you implement all the steps here, some decisions that you make wont be the right ones. – Something unexpected may come up. Just look at Warren Buffet and his ill-fated purchase of Tesco’s shares.
Inform those that need to know to know the outcome decision. You may be surprised to find that this doesn’t necessarily mean all those who worked on the analysis. Once you have the decision, you then need to revert back to each stakeholder with the parameters and ensure that they know what they need to do to implement the decision.
To find out how to choose the right consultancy, read our article here.