You always have the trade-off between doing X, and not doing it at all. There will be a cost of doing, and a cost of not doing it.
You will always have a chance of doing Y, or diverting the resources to Z – opportunity costs.
You can speed up a process, for example a culture development or alignment programme, and be very efficient, or you could do it involving many other people in the journey, which will slow down the process, will make it less efficient, but perhaps more effective involving those people in a journey.
You can freeze resources in A, and investing in B. And so on
These are apparently trivial situations, people would say, day-to-day, we see them everyday, what is the problem?
The problem is their lack of transparency. The trade-offs may be obvious and clear to a layer of management, but other people may receive them as a choice made based upon assumptions that may even feel personal. We are not as good as N, or not as favoured, or are clearly not the company’s priority. Believe me, the efforts that people make to explain trade-offs are disproportionately low compared with the benefit of making them very, very explicit and articulated.
Leaders should be clear on trade-offs. If there aren’t trade-offs around, something is wrong, no matter how counter intuitive and irritating this statement may be.
If there are, make them as clear as water and give the reasons, the logic behind them. Explain that there are/were choices and that choices have been made. And why. The more obvious to you, the greater the feeling that it is not needing to be explained, the more you have to articulate.
We could speed up the culture development or alignment programme, and shrink it in 6 months but we are going to take 12, not because we are lazy, but because we want at least another 200 managers to buy in.
We are going to freeze Project A, because B needs a boost. All people have been well-informed and understand.
We are going to do X, because the cost of not doing it is such and such.
Not rocket science. But it does not happen as often as you think it does. We all buy the theory. The theory is free. But we are not very good at explaining because, since the theory is free, we assume everybody got it.