A previous Daily Thought about decisions mentioned 3 reasons why decision making may be a problem in the organization (1) Bad process; (2) Good processes but nobody follows up; (3) The decision looks personal, when it isn’t.
I have dealt with number 3 here.
A recurrent problem is also The Follow Up Problem, which can be described as ‘the decision has been made but it does not seem to be implemented’. If I had a pound or dollar for every time a client says ‘we are not very good a following up’, I would book a long holiday.
If you are a kid in school and you ‘don’t follow up’ (the homework has been set but you don’t do it) there will be consequences. In some companies, there is no consequence whatsoever with a decision that is not fully implemented, or not implemented on time. Interestingly, in those companies, the machinery of making decisions does not learn, and more and more decisions are made to compensate for the decisions that were not followed up.
A variant of this situation is the Passive Aggressive Behaviour meets Cynicism. Translation: lets just hold on for a bit and see if this decision sticks. The track record says that it won’t, or will be changed or superseded by another one in place of this one. If we just sit back and keep calm, we may see a stream of decisions with different sticking power and then we will go for the unavoidable one.
No decision here is truly final. Keep calm and let see the (decision) river flowing.
(A 90’s book by Barry Gibbons of that title remind me of this title)
You need to dig deep into the final indecision and understand the cause. You may just find that the issue is not that the decision was good or bad, but that the leadership is not credible enough, or not serious enough, or changing their minds so frequently that it is impossible to distinguish the real one and the ephemeral. This leads to a Broken Windows syndrome in the organization, which increases even further the possibility of more un-decisions.
Don’t close your eyes. Consider the question: what if people are just waiting to see the longevity of this? If you want to decrease the mortality rate of decisions, don’t compromise and dig. You may not have a decision making problem. You may have a credibility problem. Which is a leadership problem.
Decisions are just fine. You are not.
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