Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Ineffective Decision-making & Obstacles

There are many variables in complex decision making, there are tradeoffs you have to leverage, and there is no magic formula to follow.

Digital leaders and professionals are all facing pressure to make either strategic or tactical decisions every day, Decision making is both art and science, this is particularly true in uncertain times. An effective decision can be defined as an action you take that is logically consistent with the alternative you perceive. A "decision" has lots of connotations of finality, there are also lots of obstacles on the way.

Blind spots in decision-making: Many people make bad decisions or poor judgment due to the lack of comprehensive knowledge, unconscious bias, preconceived notions, or put simply, cognitive blind spots. Often lots of times, big or small decisions are based on static or outdated information available and the “gut feeling” of decision-makers. The matter of fact is, most decisions are based on “logic,” which is a key component of the process of critical thinking generally. Logic is not always linear, with “VUCA” reality, if necessary, it’s important to leverage nonlinear or paraconsistent logic or apply multidimensional thought processes to effective decision-making, especially at the strategic level. Without independent thinking or real critical thinking, it perhaps has blind spots in thought processes of effective decision-making scenarios.

Collectively, the homogeneous team setting spurs groupthink, causes cognitive bias, creates blind spots for making effective decisions. To close decision blind spots, it’s best to bring a group of people together with cognitive differences such as different backgrounds, capabilities, strengths etc, together in order to stimulate divergent thinking and improve decision maturity. A heterogeneous team perspective is crucial for novel decisions because no individual has all the necessary expertise, but collectively, they can incorporate their unique viewpoint to overcome cognitive bias.

Lack of clarity usually surrounds the context of the decision to be taken: Most business managers and teams operate with an incomplete and relatively small view of the business ecosystem when they keep moving forward, they create the blind spots for decision making. If a decision negatively affects a stakeholder, make sure the stakeholder understands why the decision is the best in the "bigger picture," and ensure that the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. The entire decision-making processes include understanding the need, engaging key stakeholders, ensuring effective communication, assessing alternatives, developing consensus, planning, executing, and following up.

True critical thinking and constructive criticism are very important for understanding business context. Contextual intelligence is crucial in making sound decisions, especially at the strategic level. Because you need to have a big picture thinking to understand the interconnectivity of the parts and the whole, leverage multiple variables for effective decision-making. The greater majority of these options are circumstantially provided. One alternative may have a lot more strengths than another, but all those strengths together may not be nearly as important as the one or two strengths that another alternative has

One-size-fits-all approach: There is too often a tendency to take a “one-size-fits-all” approach to decision making, which includes a linear and static decision-making scenario that commits to a singular path. In reality, there are all sorts of circumstances and there are many variables in decision-making. In today’s complex business environment, more often, strategic decisions have to be made via information-based insight and foresight. There is no magic decision making formula on how much percentage of information plus how much percentage of gut feeling you should weigh in making effective decision,

In practice, decision effectiveness relies on an agreed common approach, not a predetermined set of "one size fits all" planning. Many times responsibilities or goals are communicated but the decision makers, in the case of conflicts, are not clearly identified and even when they are clear. There tend to be definitely perceivable choke points due to the inadequate delegation. There are both internal elements and external elements, such as the goals of the decision maker, decision situation, decision context, relevant information, and knowledge, as well as the organizational capabilities and resources in decision-making scenarios. Organizations need to develop their own set of best and next practices for effective decisions.

Low level of emotional intelligence: Your emotional maturity enables the suspension of judgment. High EQ helps you have an open mind, minimize biases, be cautiously optimistic, be an effective listener and be more decisive. People with low EQ refuse to admit even they make poor judgment or mistakes, or they lack the insight to make effective decisions. High EQ is important in making sound judgments, strategic decisions, and driving the organization’s long-term success.

Being judgmental has more connotations of a preconceived notion based more on pure emotion, and less on an unbiased, situation-based flexible analysis. EQ plays a crucial role in managing emotions and avoiding many thinking pitfalls such as bias, extreme thinking, hubris, negativity, etc. Now with conscious thinking, tools, and techniques, even emotion can be managed more scientifically. A well-blended high “IQ+EQ” digital mind can mix the brainpower and emotional power in making sound decisions. The importance of EQ gets prominence as seniority increases - working with people and getting more complicated decisions made and getting more tasks done.

Procrastination and wrong performance measurement: The decision-making always contains a part of the risk. Deferring decision-making is an essential aspect of human factors, putting off making decisions till tomorrow that is needed today is one of the signs of dysfunctional management and ineffective leadership. Procrastination decreases productivity. Business management should calculate the cost to the business of not making a decision now, as it is affecting business productivity improvements and not enabling new business efficiency to be introduced. If it is not improving the business, they have a right to defer the decision. Improved decision making will only come when insights from the decision support system are directly matched to improved decisions and better outcomes.

Lost opportunity costs are always difficult to quantify, but an immediate increase to the cost base is easy to see and can have a direct impact on managers' incentives for the current year. Being afraid of making the wrong decision could be because of the peer group/punishment and others. This could be linked to wrong performance measurement. So it’s critical to get the right people for making right decisions timely. In a world of uncertainty and ambiguity, the decisive mind can, by definition, not control the outcome. However, focus on making good decisions and the best chance for a good outcome is to make a good decision with measurable results.

Making a decision is one of the most significant tasks for leaders, managers and digital professionals today. Decision making is in less mathematical or fancy methodological consideration but as a sociological problem. There are many variables in complex decision making, there are tradeoffs you have to leverage, and there is no magic formula to follow. Having a sound judgment and discerning mind to making right decisions becomes one of the most critical professional qualities and management disciplines.


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