Thursday, March 5, 2020

Collaborative Decision-Making Thoughts and Tips

What seems to mark those effective decision-makers and good problems solvers out from others is their ability to frame issues, problems, decision options and turn them into shiny opportunities, tangible outcomes, and inspirational change.

Due to the complexity, ambiguity, and un-predictivity of business dynamics, there are systemic consequences and impacts of decision-making in terms of hyperconnectivity and interdependency. The decision is about the future and decision effectiveness directly impacts the success of the business.

Decision making is in less a mathematical or fancy methodological consideration but as a sociological problem: Decision-making is both art and science. Sociology brings much more depth to our knowledge with an interdisciplinary understanding of problems as it helps to understand human interactions usually within the context of organized groups, communities, or societies. There are both internal and external factors in decision-making. The internal factors that may influence the decision process include, such as the goals of the decision-maker, decision situation, decision context, relevant knowledge, resource, and capability. The external factors include technology factors, political and legal conditions, competition and consumer demands, etc. You have to look holistically at the problem domain in order to orchestrate a sociological solution.

Sociology also helps business leaders or professionals get to know the organization’s culture and people. Start with familiar concepts, data sources, and methodologies. Introduce new concepts, updated information, technologies, or methodologies slowly. There are observable behavioral changes in focus from 'better understanding of solutions” to 'better understanding of problems” in an attempt to address perceived increase in system complexity and nonlinearity in order to come up with premium solutions.

To make better decisions, it is much easier to focus on managing bias rather than trying to eliminate it: People have their own perception bias due to cognitive differences, knowledge structure or diverse experiences, etc. The key principles for making effective decisions are to keep the value set transparent, share and manage the bias with the heterogeneous group. In a collaborative decision, let people embrace their bias by sharing it with others in a non-threatening context.

Most important decisions are processes, not events. Methodologically, extensive training given in technical areas in decision critical fields have shown initial improvement in dealing with doggy heuristics and biases, but that tended to fall in a short period of time. Also, try to eliminate all biases and you are likely to reduce the use of heuristics, leading to analysis paralysis. A great way to manage bias is to simply get it out in the open communication environment. This can help to enable collective insight as a source of decision-making improvement. Management should be ready to invest time and effort, invite open and constructive feedback to support information-based decision-making and embrace collective insight.

Good teams supported by good software tools typically improve decision effectiveness and move through the decision process much quicker: The decision support application must be reliable and aligned with the business needs and people are decision master. Just implementing an analytics tool is not going to result in improved decision making for an organization. Technology never makes decisions! What it does do is to present and provide any number of perspectives of all elements and assessments comparatively so that informed discussion and debate can occur and decisions can be made more objectively.

Putting off making decisions until tomorrow that is needed today is one of the signs of dysfunctional management. The technology should be seen as an enabler, and good teams supported by good software tools can improve and speed up complex decision maturity. Create engagement around insight, enable scenarios and forecasting to promote decision alternatives, and focus on making the complex radically simpler for the purposes of pattern detection. Improved decision making will only come when insights from the decision support system are directly matched to improved decisions and better outcomes.

Making sound judgments or decisions is one of the most important activities as well as the core capability for business leaders and professionals today. What seems to mark those effective decision-makers and good problems solvers out from others is their ability to frame issues, problems, decision options and turn them into shiny opportunities, tangible outcomes, and inspirational change.


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