Do you have a hard time making decisions?
When you need to figure out a plan of action, do you take days to consider all the options, and can’t ever decide on the spot? Learn More
Some managers hesitate and procrastinate over decision making. This is generally because they are anxious about making the wrong decision and the possible consequences this might have. The best managers are prepared to make decisions quickly even if they are only 80% sure they are right. This is because delaying a decision can cause more problems than it solves. By acting quicker and anticipating the risks you may be able to still put the situation right. Procrastinating may leave this option unavailable. Learn More
We make decisions every day. That’s part of our job. And, most of he time, things go right with those decisions. Rarely do we make massive howlers that send the FTSE 100 index crashing through the floor, or find the building around us burn to the ground.
If you need to make large, long-lasting decisions that will have an impact on what you do in the future, it would be good to have some kind of model that assists us and provides a firm foundation for the decision that has to be made. Learn More
You know the story…you’re right in the middle of something, and then a problem comes out of left-field. How do you react? How you face problems is one of the critical factors that helps determine how successful you will be as a manager.
Many managers panic or resist problems, thinking that by ignoring it or passing it on, somehow it’s solved. Firstly, assume there is an answer out there… it just needs to be found. Worrying about it gets you nowhere; working towards the answer will get you everywhere. I’m not just referring to being positive, but the state of mind you decide to choose will play a big part in the way the problem will be handled.
Now, ask yourself ‘what are the facts?’. Many problems are not as big as they seem at first, once everything is known. Also, facts will help you find a better solution, faster. Knowing this is the next step allows you to think logically about the situation. If you encounter a problem, simply begin asking questions and gather the facts. Sometimes you have dig to get to the real problem! This is where your quality questioning comes in.
As a manager, sometimes you get involved in situations that don’t need too much of your time. You might be able, having summarised exactly what the situation is, to put the problem back to someone else or identify how it can be dealt with in a different way. If you are the best person to deal with it, think of what you, personally can do to deal with it. Brainstorm some ideas. Expand your thinking to identify what alternatives you might have
Consider what research you might do to solve the problem- maybe the internet could help, asking other people, or reading how others have solved the problem might help. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you know it all, and that your first instinct for an answer is necessarily the best. Bounce your ideas off other people, even if you think they know less on the subject. Sometimes the more you know, the more you can overlook the obvious.
Finally, make your decision, and put it into action. Think short-term as well as long. Follow through properly. Allow yourself the time to pick the right solution and set milestones to measure its effectiveness. Monitor those solutions and make sure you have some contingencies, just in case.
By following logical steps, you identify what progress you can make with specific problems and will soon have them under control.
Problem-solving and decision-making are two of the most effective skills you can develop as a manager. When you think about it, what are you doing most of the day, other than solving problems and making decisions?
So what parameters might you be working under and how can you start making effective decisions with your team? Learn More
Last week, when we began discussing the various components of the decision making process, I mentioned that one of the attributes a manager needed to have when making decisions was tunnel vision (or, really, a lack thereof).
Think of it this way – a tunnel is very narrow. When you’re in a tunnel you have very few options – either back up or move forward to find the nearest exit. Decision making, when done with tunnel vision, is very similar. Managers with tunnel vision find that they have very few alternatives to choose from when it’s time to make the final decision. Learn More
You’ve probably heard the phrase “when it rains, it pours” before. Unfortunately, when it comes to making decisions it’s usually feast or famine. You either have nothing to do or you’re faced with a dozen important decision at the same time.
It’s important to prioritise when it seems like you have a myriad of decisions to make all at once. You have a few choices when it comes to the order in which you’ll make your decisions. Learn More
I’ve found over the course of my career that there are three main types of decision making models or methods a manager will use when attempting to make a decision. While every individual manager will follow his own process, all tend to follow into one of the three following categories:
Managers who follow the rational or logical decision making model tend to gather facts, thoroughly examine situations, and make logical decisions based on all that they know on a given subject. He does as much research as possible and leaves nothing to chance. This is the most recommend method of decision making for those in management positions.
Intuitive decision making involves not the use of statistics and data but a manager’s gut feelings. While this method isn’t necessarily bad it can lead to disaster as one’s gut, or instinct, should never be the sole factor in the decision making process. It’s better to use past experiences, insight, and statistics together to make the right choice.
The worst decision making model is the predisposed method. A manager will make a snap decision based on his personal preferences and opinions and will work to find data that backs up what he wants to do, regardless of whether or not his decision is actually right. He tends to ignore important information merely because it doesn’t support his agenda.
It’s important for you to identify what type of decision making model you usually follow. Is the one you’re using most effective? Do you tend to act in a predisposed manner? Figure out where you stand on the decision making grid and then decide if you need to make a change. The future of your department may depend on it.
As a manager you are, of course, responsible for making decisions on a number of different levels. You’ve probably already figured out that your interpersonal and information management roles involve making decisions, but you have a number of other responsibilities as well.
You have four main roles as a decision maker within your organisation. They are to act as an entrepreneur, to handle disturbances, to allocate resources, and to negotiate.
As an entrepreneur you are responsibel for finding new ideas that will enhance the way your team works. Once you’ve developed the idea you must implement it and continuously review it to ensure your strategies are sound. You’ll need to know when to make changes should they become necessary.
The handling of disturbances within your team or department are also your responsibility. Disturbances may include anything from broken equipment to scheduling conflicts or two team members not getting along. You need to make decisions that will stop or avoid anything that will decrease your team’s productivity.
When your team or department receives new resources they’ll come to you first. It’s your job to decide who needs those resources and allocate them properly. These may include access to training, funding for new equipment, and evens upplies.
Last, but certainly not least, you are a negotiator. You are responsible for working with suppliers, other management members, and your employees to make agreements that will enhance your performance.
Managers are obviously bestowed with a significant amount of authority and if you find yourself in a new management position you’ll have to be careful not to abuse that position. The more skilled you are at using your decision making skills for good the more productive, efficient, and successful your team will be.
I haven’t challenged you with an activity in quite a while so I thought I might do so today.
Every once in a while we are faced with a decision that seems more difficult than it needs to be. In these situations the key to coming up with the best response is to carefully consider all of the facts and then, using your best judgement and sense of personal ethics, make the decision you think is best for the company in the long run.
Here’s your decision for the day:
As the manager of a small restaurant you suddenly find you need to cut costs by eliminating a part-time employee. Your two choices are an elderly woman who works part-time to help raise her daughter’s children or a college student who is nearing his graduation date and needs to work to pay off his living costs (not to mention tuition) while he’s in school. Both are wonderful people but they are the only part-time people to choose from.
Who will you choose to let go? There’s really no right or wrong answer but you should be confident in your assessments and have a real reason for picking one or the other. Let me know in the comments who you chose!