All 11 entries tagged Decision

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April 21, 2012

Decision Making Skills

One of the most important skills in business is problem solving and decision making skills at all levels of the organisation especially for managers and leaders. Most of the job announcements require decision making skills; job interviews quite involve behavioural case studies related to decision making and problem solving to test the capability and the competence of the candidate in such situations. The success of the whole business depends on the decision making ability of the upper management. In today’s business the quicker decisions are made the more we will take advantage of opportunities and the more company will achieve its competitive advantage.

One of most important characteristics that differentiate effective leaders and great managers are their decision making skills especially in stressful situations. It’s quite hard to be in such positions where you are stressed out and you need to make a quick but effective decision concerning your business or company. But the good part about this is that there are no perfect decisions and we all make mistakes, but the most important thing that we have to learn from our own mistakes and experiences and act accordingly and follow up to make sure that the decision has been implemented. Without this skill the business will go bankrupt, if the management in the company don’t have these skills or other interrelated skills such as problem solving and analytical thinking skills, If the top management was not aware of the process, the biases that could occur and influence their decision, the mind traps that they might fall in, then definitely the company will be in a deep crisis.


April 17, 2012

The Herd Instinct!

It is funny to see how such phrases are derived from particular stories happened in the past. In this respect, the best way to understand the term is to go back to its origin and see how it evolved. The Bandwagon effect is one of these phrases which first appeared in America in the nineteenth century in political campaigns where the phrase “jump/climb/or get on the bandwagon” means that you or the group become involved in an activity so that you can get the advantage of it yourself or the group.

We sometimes take our cue for decisions we make from our surrounding to some extent, when we see new idea or product or an event and we see other people enjoying it, then this will have a high level of influence on our decision to join that group of people or buy that product to take advantage of it.

But this might go further at some stages particularly in politics where people are blend into the scenery without considering the reasons behind this behaviour and regardless of their own belief or the accepted moral or ethics existed in the society, and I have reckoned this in some cases like what is happening in Syria where there are some people who are still swimming with the tide and still supporting the regime whereas the president and his thugs are still killing people just to keep in power, bear in mind that those people have no interest with the regime so why are they still supporting it! Is it part of the herd instinct or the bandwagon effect? Is it the fear and part of change and moving outside their comfort zone and taking risk for the unknown future in case the regime went away?


April 16, 2012

Leadership & Decision Making

One of the best parts of this module is that it is interconnected with previous modules especially with “Leadership and Excellence” module. Decisions are at the heart of leadership success, and there are critical moments when they can be difficult, however effective leaders can make efficient and effective decisions, and that’s what differentiate them from others. The most important traits that all successful leaders have is being a great decision maker, having a high level of decision making skills, a proper insight and knowledge of the business and the issue at hand which helps them make a robust decision in an efficient manner, and then act accordingly. However taking the action once the decision is made is also one of the most important parts of decision itself which differentiate successful leaders.

Looking back at some examples of successful CEO’s, we could reckon that those leaders have brought their company to the top or made those companies successful or kept them successful overtime, and one of the main aspects behing this is being a robust decision maker which is a common train between those CEO’s.


March 11, 2012

Group Decision Making

Many groups meet to solve problems or achieve a task, on both cases the process involves decision making and the team members have to learn how they can effectively achieve the results. So far as MBE students we have experienced this since the start of the course through working with other class mates on preparing presentations and taking decisions on several mini projects, and the latter project was working on finding the best fit decision for WaveRiders.

Through this task, all team members within the group were participating collectively to reach a decision through analysing the problem or situation, considering and evaluating alternative courses of action, and selecting from among the alternatives a solution or solutions.

However there are pros and cons of this type of decision making as far as I have experienced during our mini projects. First of all, the advantages are combining the strengths and knowledge of its members to likely reach superior problem solution rather than the individual. On the other hand, group decision making are generally slower to arrive decisions than individuals or when some situations at particular times requires a quick solution or taking a quick decision.

As we go and enter the real business world, we are going to experience more of these kinds of decision makings, as we are going to spend most of our time working within teams.


You are what decisions you take!

Decision making is very important in all aspects of our lives whether in business, personal or social life. It is about selecting choices and taking action. One’s life might completely change based on wrong or right selections of choices, or in other words taking the wrong or right decisions might affect his/her life utterly.

The decisions taken in our lives are the causes of what we are today. These decisions were nudged by our friends, family and environment, yet they were not the main cause, but the choices we made during our life are the main reason behind what we became today.

Rarely people are aware about this issue and how decision making is so critical and how it plays a big role in their lives and the choices they make. Successful people are what they are because they selected the right choice and took action accordingly. Some particular things which I have learnt during my life is that successful people believe that whether things go well or not lies in their hands and the choices they make and therefore lies in having good level of decision making skills

In this regard, we have to be conscious about having sufficient information to make decisions but not waiting for obtaining all the information because this is unrealistic, at the same time there is no one correct answer and refusing to act unless they have that answer might be not a wise thing to adopt. Above all, acting and following up on the decision taken is very crucial for making sure that the decision is implemented right and ensuring that the desired results are obtained.


Problem Solving & Decision Making

Is there any distinction between problem solving and decision making? There is quite difference, but we need to know how could we identify these kind of differences to enable us to understand those two key management functions, and what sort of skills associated with each function. I think problem solving is part of decision making process as it involves in looking at the potential cause of the problem and therefore taking a proper action accordingly which is approached by the decision making process. Those two are complementary but not the same functions. Problem solving is based on experience, whereas decision making is more of consideration of what you have learnt from solving this problem.


Waveriders Decision

One of the things I think we missed to talk about in our presentations is to show a step by step process of how we took the decision. In other words, not demonstrating the tools used and the information which was based upon to make the decision, but to show also the decision making as stages to be moved through step by step.

With this in mind, Mintzberg et al (1976) provides a general model of strategic decision process. The model is divided into five stages as shown in the table below:

Stages

Description

Recognition

Identify the problem or an opportunity or maybe a crisis or a threat.

Diagnosis

Examination of current and new information

Sources to define the issue.

Search & Design

Search for ready-made solutions or design a

Custom-made one.

Evaluation

Use of judgement, bargaining and analysis

To choose a solution. This is a multistage

process with a deep investigation

Into the alternatives.

Authorisation

The authorisation of the chosen solution by

Upper management.

Although there might be various models for decision making in relevant literatures, this model might be a good representative of the situation. On the other hand, yes we did go through all stages except for the final one, but we didn’t explain that in a direct way in the presentation which should be done to show the board of directors the rational kind of process that we employed to reach this decision, in addition to the tools and techniques used. A robust decision making is not about the outcome, it is all about the decision process used, therefore, whether the decision was Lymington or Exmouth, or the best mix of advertisement medium, yet the main thing which will differentiate us from others is adopting a clear decision making process and model.

References:

Mintzberg, H., Raisinghani, D., & Theoret, A. (1976). The structure of “unstructured”

decision processes. Administrative Science Quarterly, 21, 246-275.


Training and safe learning environment in the context of decision making in organisations

I have never heard of a company allocating a training budget for their managers to train them on the decision making process and all aspects of decision making.

Managers in organisations at all levels make decisions every day, therefore it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the process of decision making, including being awareness of the type of skills required at various levels to be associated with decision making.

Decision making is part of good business, and good decisions come from precise relevant information and good experience in interpreting these information. Therefore managers could be trained to make better decisions. But this is not enough; the organisation must also provide a safe supporting environment where they will not unfairly criticised for making wrong decisions, in doing so, they must receive proper feedback and support from upper management and colleagues.

Again, we are talking about a supportive learning environment within an organisation which will be so helpful for robust decision making. An atmosphere of fear and negative criticism will hold them back from taking the risk and creativity which might not be in the favour of the business in responding to market changes.

Finally, as Mark Twain said “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.” Is a good supportive statement that there is no harm of making bad decision in organisations but at the same time, proper feedback must be obtained to prevent these kinds of decisions in the future.


March 09, 2012

Myers Briggs Indicator


Myers – Briggs Type Indicator or in other words personality types is considered by most top companies around the world as a good model for personality assessment. They use it for training, recruiting, leadership development, team building, workplace diversity and in many sort of applications, but I did not know that this might in a way or another be related to the decision making process, however thinking back of the decision making process, this is quite true, because in order to understand how people take decisions and why do they select choices, or on what bases did they take that or this decision is merely depending on their type of personality, and the Myers – Briggs is therefore a good tool for helping organisations understand their people and therefore managing their people effectively.

Knowledge of MBTI will definitely help organisations understand how their individuals make decisions based on their personality type. I do not know if anybody of you ever heard about it before, but the MBTI assumes that variation in human behaviour is actually quite normal due to basic differences in the way people prefer to use their perception or judgement. It goes back to Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine Briggs. The theory states that there is 16 personality types and each type is well defined so therefore in order to know your Myers- Briggs type of personality you have to take an online test (multiple choice questionnaire) or with a paper conducted by a professional practitioner.

Companies nowadays and traning centers around the world are spreading the word on this theory, and many employees are getting trained on this approach. Again it is well recommended to be employed in any organisation since it proved to be a good tool in many aspects, and one of them is in robust decision making.


March 08, 2012

Ethical Decision Making

Ethics has to do with all our thinking of how we perceive things. We all have images of what an ethical society, an ethical business, or ethical organisations is. With this in mind this will affect our decision making and often our feelings will tell us if it is uncomfortable to take decisions when things are quite unethical or ethically wrong. However, taking ethical decisions requires the ability to make distinction between hard choices, especially when people are under social, economical stress and so on.

Although we make decisions every day, but most of time selecting choices are very hard and difficult especially in stressful situations. But I think the most challenging thing is when ethical concerns arise when we face conflicts in values and interests, those values might differ from society to other and from culture to other, and therefore decisions might differ according to how we perceive things.

All in all, It is our intent to concentrate on the application of ethics in decision making in the business of world today, because this is part of business excellence and the most important component of excellence model, ensuring that the people within the organisation are treated well and fairly in addition to our daily decisions affecting the suppliers, customers and the community.


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