I used to be indecisive – now I am less certain!
Disclosure: I really struggle with “ditherers” Life is far too short.
Prudence? Yes. Due diligence? Of course. But in business if you want to distinguish yourself from the average, you have to trust your judgment – absolutely have to.
While some decisions are easy (what to eat for supper) many more are extremely hard. Usually, a hard decision involves greater consequences/implications or, in some cases, a higher level of resource commitment.
In reality, not all so-called hard decisions are hard. Some feel harder than others owing to scale:
- If a friend asks to borrow $5, you’re likely to oblige without thinking about it.
- If that friend asks to borrow $1,000, you’re likely to be circumspect and ask questions.
The decision is the same one in essence – concerning creditworthiness. But, where the amount is greater, we perceive the decision to be much harder because the consequences are greater. Who cares about $5? But $1,000 is a sum most people would not wish to lose. It represents a risk, but at what stage does the decision become hard – $6, $25, more? The risk is that the friend might not or cannot repay the money and therefore you might regret your decision. Your decision will be based on your consideration of the risk and the magnitude of the possible loss, although you might not see it in this way.
We can define a decision as having “hard” characteristics when:
- The situation is uncertain i.e. there is a greater perceived risk
- The situation is inherently complex with many different issues e.g. the siting of a new airport is immensely complex, especially in these environmentally-aware times, because of the factors that must be taken into consideration (flight paths, air traffic control slots, residents, communications links, etc.).
- There are several objectives, but one or more is blocked and compromises or trade-offs are needed.
- Different perspectives can lead to different conclusions – especially true where two or more people are involved in making a decision; they may disagree about the assumptions, probable outcomes or even the decision.
The key issue is how to handle hard decisions to ensure they are taken as painlessly as possible. This requires the use of a robust, consistent approach and an appropriate level of detail – essential to ensure that risk is minimized, or at least understood.
I hope I articulated all of that well; you’ll have to decide!