"Decisions are the hardest thing to make, especially when it is a choice between where you should be and where you want to be" (Unknown)
The thought process of selecting a logical choice from available options, weighting the positives and negatives of each options, considering the alternatives and impacts of each. This includes the skills to resolve any disputes between the relevant parties within the workplace in order to obtain a consensus way forward
Knowledge (Theories, Ideas & Concepts)
Through Professional/Personal Study Gained Through Experience
The act of choosing between two or more courses of action, between possible solutions to a problem or process of making important decisions. It involves the intuitive or reasoned cognitive process of weighing the positive and negative outcomes of available options, and then selected based on belief that which may or may not result in subsequent action(s)
A significant number of tools and techniques are available to assist with the process ranging from decision making models, option choosing, deciding whether to go ahead, financial decisions, methods of improving decision making, impact of ethics and values, and group decision making
The conceptual Cynefin (habitat) framework involving Simple (Best Practice), Complicated (Good Practice), Complex (Emergent) and Chaotic (Novel & Rapid Response) contexts, and the skills, behaviours and decision making styles that need to be adopted to match with the different environments (Ref: https://hbr.org/2007/11/a-leaders-framework-for-decision-making)
Skills & Application of Knowledge in Real World Situations
Together with Responsibilities/Accountabilities
Creating business cases is a classic example of demonstrating a positive approach towards problems, considering the wider need of the situations, weighing up options and compromises, recognising personal limitations and bias that are countered by the willingness to seek help when necessary, interview others or bring wider diversity to a team. As a bid manager you need to put in effective strategies to deal with the issues.
Issues (Decisions or Conflicts) need to be clearly articulated, options need to be communicated and addressed (ideally face-to-face), sticking to professional standards and etiquette, and taking time out for reconsiderations and removal of any personal emotions. Taking time out during a particularly difficult negotiation allowed time for executive buy-in to be granted and a win-win scenario to be created.
The higher you go up the Cynefin framework, the higher the number and complexity of skills and competencies that will be called upon to help determine the outcomes. Outputs may require certain levels of influence, negotiation, stress/pressure, capacity to take calculated risks, flexibility, adaptability, independence, external awareness and sensitivity to others. One particular example dealing with a supplier required a balance of all these elements in order to navigate a successful outcome.
The inability to collect the right data, ensure it is reliable, quickly identify trends/patterns using the latest tools (forecasting, correlations and regression) and then for empowered users to analytically enhance data through compelling visuals (box plots, heat maps, bubble charts) in order to breathe life into the data and reveal elusive insights. Microsoft Excel is one of those programmes that we’ve all used a little, but most of us haven’t even scratched the surface of what it can do. It is the most underrated software you already own.
As the pace of decision making increases, there will be a knock-on increase in the pace of change. This can lead to increased sources of conflict arising from poor communications, differing values and interests being ignored, scarce resources being stretched, personality clashed, poor performance and increasing employee stress, frustration and absenteeism. More and more management time will need to be focused on conflict resolution strategies in order to insure employees are working in a safe, positive and productive environment.
In order to help make the right and timely decisions, users need to access real-time updates that allow them to drill into the detail to make educated decisions to help generate positive outcomes. Historic dashboard links and printed reports are no longer the end products of choice. We are now entering an age that we have improved our ability to derive value through faster and more accurate insights that are available to more and more people, anywhere at anytime. Visual Analytics will soon become mainstream and not limited to the experts.
Selected Achievements & Successes
Together with Any ‘So What’ Statements of Insights
My PhD education has taught me the value of approaching complex problems methodically, drawing comparisons, running scenarios and testing them, evaluating risks, anticipating outcomes and reactions, and even after making decisions, letting them settle for a while before acting. Although there are no guarantees, the key was to look for opportunities, don’t let fear stop you and don’t get stuck and do nothing.
There are many ways to reach the same destination or to achieve the same outcome, it is just some are more difficult than others. Military training has taught me that the best route is not necessarily the direct route, and when navigating a route, just like the best orienteers, they catch a feature, follow handrails, aim off and then choose an attack point, collect features to know where they are at all times, and finally follow the contour to save time and conserve energy.
Decision-making is considered the cognitive process resulting in the selection of a belief or preferred course of action from a number of alternative possibilities/options, based on the values and preferences of the decision-maker. The danger is that you fall back on your default behaviour, stay in your comfort zone or don’t use your imagination to test out a novel idea. The best career choices I have made were done by channelling my inner wise person and asking them the question. We often drift into information overload mode or put more weight on them than they’re worth forgetting that most are reversible.