May 20, 2011

Don’t take big impact decision if…….

Decisions are difficult to make but managers at all levels have to take the responsibility for quality decisions based on the available data & facts. Barak Obama has been criticized for his ‘sleeping over’ for a day on the decision to sign order to execute Osama bin laden. Some US academics has appreciated his approach to decision making as sound one and efficient in such grave matters.

How do the responsible professionals arrive at decisions in the corporate world? There are managers that are known for their instant decisions making as compared to the majority who are either incapable of taking a decision at all or take long time to take decision. It is possible to take a decision in routine matters quickly but new problems need a process of collecting the facts, writing down the alternatives & their consequences and selecting the suitable decision in context of objectives, consequences and time phase.

Though enough research has been carried out the factors underlying the process of making Big Ticket decisions but little has been done to compare the big decisions with a series of small decisions of less significance?

Let’s examine a case to understand the issue. At an engineering college a group of students approached the director complaining against the faculty for giving them low marks in the internal assessment. The director felt helpless in presence of large group of students in his office. He did not try to have a conversation with them in that setting and asked the students to come with a separate written complaint and meet him one by one. He talked to each student individually and gave suitable solution to each one of them.

The director broke the case into small manageable parts and set out to solve it in a win-win manner. It has been observed that a complex decision may involve detailed examination to gather all the facts but still its better to avoid big impact decision and instead go for a series of small decisions. Big decisions have significant impact therefore require greater risks to all those involved in it. Any decision could be broken into smaller manageable parts and then executed in a planned serial manner to achieve same goal at lower disruption.

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