Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Art and Science of Decision-Making

Both the art of intuition and the science of analytics has the role to play in making wise decisions.

Both business and the world become over-complex, hyper-connected, extremely uncertain and ambiguous than ever, making effective decisions is both art and science. There are blind spots that block the vision and there are pitfalls on the way. What are philosophy and practices to improve decision making effectiveness and optimize the overall business responsiveness?

The art of decision making includes the art of questioning: Part of the problem in decision ineffectiveness has to do with how you frame the question. Inappropriate framing is being the root cause of most bad decisions. It’s also due to the lack of inquisitive minds. People need to leverage both critical thinking and creative thinking to ask tough questions for framing the real issues behind decision making. The thinking approach being used is informed at some level on subjective, intuitive sources of information, but it was calibrated and employed in the structured guiding process that got everyone to slow down and think through the implications of their intuitive, subjective assumptions. Hence, the art of decision-making is based on a sound basis, mixing feelings and reflection, inner wisdom and self-regulation, to make sure decisions are being taken neither impulsively nor too late, in order to avoid uncertainty - one of the biggest pitfalls to any business transformation.

The science of decision-making is to make sure there is an effective decision process in place: And for the same reason, you need a sound process to frame the decision, spec out your options, weigh them appropriately with the right people, to make sure decisions are being executed and not permanently questioned. The importance of the process becomes critical as decisions become more complex and involve more diverse stakeholders. The entire decision-making process includes understanding the need, engaging key stakeholders, ensuring effective communication, assessing alternatives, developing consensus, planning, communicating, executing, and following up on decision making. Identify potential benefits and required changes to achieve the objectives, to find the "cause and effect" chain of intermediate milestones required to achieve end benefits and transformation objectives. This step also ensures benefits are owned by relevant stakeholders. Decision-making is a process, not an event.

Both the art of intuition and the science of analytics has the role to play in making wise decisions: There are many considerations in leveraging thinking fast and slow. Sometimes there is no time for analysis. Sometimes the issue is small, and detailed analysis is not worth the effort. Sometimes key data is not available. Sometimes the intuition does well before you are able to explain the logic; and the other times, you just have to break down the big problems to solve them piece by piece via carefully reasoning. The decision-making scenario includes: Identification of tasks, understanding the tasks and how they should be sequenced, and how to leverage data associated with tasks optimally to make effective decisions. Both the art of intuition and the science of analytics has the role to play in making wise decisions.

Decision making is an art only until the person understands the science (process, analytics. etc). It takes the multidisciplinary approach, frames the right questions before answering them. It has a combination of both creative thinking and critical thinking, divergent and convergent thinking processes behind it. Ensure you are both information savvy and be flexible to select the optimal solutions.


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