HOW TO IDENTIFY ISSUES WHEN REACHING A DECISION
Mastering the processes and methods involved in taking decisions goes a long way towards maximizing your effectiveness and efficiency as a manager.
It is crucial to diagnose problems correctly. Before any decision can be made, identify and define the issue and its boundaries clearly. This also means identifying who else needs to be involved in the issue, and analyzing what their involvement means.
Understanding Why A Decision Needs Taking
Most managerial decisions are prompted by one of four different types of event., each requiring a particular decision-making style.
Disturbances: Manager decides on the best way to solve problems, emergencies, and upheavals;
Opportunities: Manager decides which new openings to pursue and how;
Resource allocation: Manager arbitrates in the distribution of money, personnel, or supplies;
Negotiations: Manager takes decisions as a representative of an organization or individuals.
Questions To Ask
Have I looked at all the issues involved in the scenario?
Have I looked at problematical issues objectively?
Are my decisions suited to each individual issue?
Have I identifies issues that tend to recur?
Tackling whole Issues
Decisions that tackle only one specific part of a problem tend to fail. Any decision affects a component or components in an entire business system. Consider whether the issue in question is company-wide or an isolated incident.
For example, you can remove one difficult employee, but if the problem is caused by bad management or a bad recruitment policy, nothing has been truly resolved. Do some research; dig deep to find out why a decision is required. This establishes the correct boundaries – and leads to superior results.
In addition to identifying issues, as a decision-maker, you need to identify the individuals involved. List everybody who would be significantly affected by a decision, such as those in higher management with decision powers of their own; other departments whose work will be affected; and clients and suppliers. Assess who you need to consult to ensure support and goodwill. When you reach a decision, make sure that everybody on your list knows what you have decided and why, whether you have consulted them or not.
Identifying A Timetable
When you are making a decision, be aware of the timetable involved, but remember that the quality of thinking and execution, rather than the time available, must be the key factor. You should reach your decision without undue haste but also without unnecessary delays.
The right time to take your decision is when all the information is in and all the issues have been addressed. Delay is beneficial only if you need to obtain more vital information or if circumstances change and issues have to be reassessed. Time pressure can, in fact, be helpful – it concentrates the mind, rules out procrastination, and reduces the number of alternatives that can be considered.
When making a decision, prioritize significant factors. Common sense suggests that some factors in a process are more important than others – and analysis supports this.
In reality, only 20 per cent of activities may account for up to 80 per cent of results. This is known as the Pareto rule, the “80/20” rule, or the principle of the “vital few and the trivial many”. When decisions-making, use the Pareto rule to sort your priorities. Giving every factor affecting a decision equal weight makes sense only if every factor is equally important; The Pareto rule concentrates on the significant 20 per cent and gives the less important 80 per cent lower priority.
When decision making, divide the relevant factors into categories. Prioritize them correctly, and allow time and effort accordingly so that vital aspects of a decision are not rushed and immaterial aspects do not consume too much time.
Before you make a strategic decision, you must first gain a full understanding of the current situation. Get to know the general environment, comparative performances, external requirements, root causes of any performance gaps, and the price of inaction.
This five-stage “business case” works for both giants and small units. In any organization, there are questions you can ask yourself, such as:
What is happening in the marketplace, and does it work against us?
Where and why are we under-performing when compared with our competition?
What do our customers demand that we are unable to supply?
What negative results will follow if we do not take action immediately?
Deciding Where To Go
In an ideal situation, you work out where you want your organization to be, and then you make the necessary decisions to get there. Do this firstly by identifying shortfalls and setting them in context, and secondly by setting out the actions necessary to close the gaps. These activities will include:
Meeting customers’ requirements
Removing the cause of shortcomings
Replacing threatened negative results with large benefits.
Each of these actions requires further decisions, all of which are taken within the overall decision to get from A (unacceptable) to B (acceptable).
|Identify the problem|
|Find out where you are|
|Decide where you want to go|
Approach different types of decision in different ways for good results.
If you are having problems making a decision, change your perspective.
Be aware of who will be affected by your decision.
Once a decision is clear, make it quickly rather than slowly.
Avoid rushing an important decision just because others expect it.
Be honest and objective when describing the current situation.
Be optimistic – but remain realistic – when planning your future objectives.