The power of making the right decisions

The power of making the right decisions – and how decision making is critical to success

Are you making the correct decisions The skill of decision making in management.

We all make decisions about various things in our daily lives, be it the most trivial things like eating either rice or roti for lunch or more important things like, taking up a professional job or giving our passion a chance after graduation. What we must notice in both the cases is that, a choice has to be made between two alternatives. Decision-making, thus, is a process which involves making a choice between alternatives to achieve a goal. The choice is made after rationally considering the pros and cons of all the alternatives. And it counts as a vital function in the process of management.

Although decision making is at the core of the process of planning, it is an all pervasive process since it is used in all domains of management. Decision making involves making a choice among alternatives which best meets the requirements and objectives of the organization. The manager, along with him team, first recognizes and defines a problem or issue on which the decision has to be made. He or she then brainstorms to generate the possible alternatives to handle the issue, which are then well evaluated to choose the best. After implementing this alternative, feedback and follow up to the decision complete the process. The feedback is necessary as it guards one from taking wrong decisions in the future.

Many mathematical tools and theories have been developed to facilitate the decision making process, such as linear programming, probability, game theory, risk analysis, decision trees etc. But since there is never complete information and certainty about the alternatives, there is always a risk in choosing a particular alternative. It is the task of the manager to minimize the risk and generate as much effectiveness and efficiency as possible, which would lead to the development of the firm. A critical evaluation of all alternatives, and encouraging opinions, criticisms and questions from the employees can lead to an effective decision-making. Decisions taken in haste and without gathering proper information about the alternatives can only deteriorate the quality of the decision, leading to the fall of the organization. Whereas a good decision can take save time, enhance efficiency and effectiveness and lead an organization to great heights.

It is important that enough facts are gathered about the choices available at one’s disposal, so that one does not regret later (You should never regret in life anyway! You are human only and can make a few mistakes here and there). Another important aspect is focusing on the decision by giving it an assigned time and not delaying the process. Although managers should possess decision making skills themselves, but in times of crisis, they could seek the help of entrepreneurs as they are inborn problem solvers. Innovation is another critical element to good decision making. When one can think creatively, they can come up with novel answers to questions and unique alternative solutions to problems. Asking a question is important; only then can the mind think and come up with new choices to decide upon. The example of Google very well stresses on this point. In Google the aim is that all decisions are based on data, analytics and scientific experimentation. Their aim is to start with questions and be very clear about the information needs at the very beginning. Their executive chairman Eric Schmidt says: “We run the company by questions, not by answers. So in the strategy process we’ve so far formulated 30 questions that we have to answer […] You ask it as a question, rather than a pithy answer, and that stimulates conversation. Out of the conversation comes innovation. Innovation is not something that I just wake up one day and say ‘I want to innovate.’ I think you get a better innovative culture if you ask it as a question.”

Nonetheless I agree that decision making is hard, esp. in times of crisis. And making a decision and accepting its consequences are harder. But Peter F. Drucker’s words correctly emphasize on the importance of taking a fearless decision. “Whenever you see a successful business, someone once made a courageous decision.” Good decisions can only benefit people and organisations and never be detrimental to them.

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