All entries for Thursday 07 April 2011

April 07, 2011

No Decision?

Discussing decision making is always about how to make a decision robust. However, what do we think of not making a decision at all?

not making a decision can be either good or bad decision. it is good when it is resulted from making a robust decision to not to take/delay action. this decision is based on information that support it.

on the other hand, it is bad when somebody thinks that nothing will go wrong if they do not take any decision/action. so they take a decision not to make decisions based on fear/psychological concerns. 

arguably, both involve decision making that result in not making decisions. Differentiating both is important to be aware of how robust our decision are. Moreover, it helps in creating self-awareness that can be a base for developing personal decision making skills.

Is it All about Tools?

Is making bad decisions all about using tools? Managers have to make lots of decisions on a daily basis that are very important because they affect productivity, time, relations, and other personal aspects and hence the work itself. these decisions are made in a second which does not allow a person to use a tool. 

in this sense, robust decision making can be a personal trait that can be developed as it is the case in leadership. to illustrate here are some of the bad decision that people make daily suggested by decision-making-confidence:

  • saying yes when you'd rather say no
  • doing things that you don't want to be doing
  • making decisions so other people think well of you
  • spending time with people you don't want to be with
  • making decisions so others can feel OK but you have to sacrifice in some way
  • allowing others to treat you poorly
  • letting others make decisions so you're living the life they want you to live

someone might think that these are related to personal and social issues. yes, but I would think that business is a social environment where people interact and many of the previous bad decisions can lead to failure for a manager who is perfect in using decision trees.

I think that studying decision making as a subject that is related to personal traits is as important as teaching decision making tools.

Robust Decision Consequences

After using decision making tools, one can think that they are able to make a decision (robust one) that guarantee good results. practically robust decisions do not guarantee any results. the universe is changing continuously and has its own plans. the benefit that these tools add are trying to anticipate some results in the light of the existing information. however, given that information accuracy is a function of time, the decision 'robustness' is defined by time it was made. the consequences of the decision does not define its robustness. i.e. very bad results does not mean that a decision is bad and vice versa. it is impossible to know all the possible consequences of a decision until you have made it.

April 2011

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