The recent turn of events in the Kashmir valley reminds us of the importance of decision making in resolving any issue. While many hail the decision as long due, there’s always the ‘other’ side to any decision. Without going into details or taking sides, let’s look at decision making as a science to understand the process so that the decisions we make in our projects can be the best – not just by coincidence or in hindsight.
Decisions must be timely. The longer you delay a decision, the harder it becomes to course correct in case your project risks running off course.
Often, decisions are made even without getting every stakeholder involved. Weigh the risk to return possibilities and decide with the information at hand. Many decisions are often delayed because of a lack of complete information. Which is where you are expected to apply judgement.
Contrary to popular belief, the best decision are more emotional than logical.
When there are many possibilities to choose from, narrow down your options so that a decision is easier. A decision from fewer alternatives is easier than selecting one from many.
When you need to take a decision as a team, make sure the team size is not more than 7 to 9 decision makers. Research has shown that larger teams take much longer time and make poorer decisions.
Take decisions in the morning or first half of the day. There is a thing called decision fatigue! Remember why Mark Zuckerberg always wears a grey T-shirt.
Decisions can also go wrong. Acknowledge and accept those quickly and course correct. When you take a decision, you are also accountable for the impact of the decision. Never let the fear of going wrong mow you down into not making a decision. We have seen how in many cases, indecisiveness might be costlier than a wrong decision!
Plan and prepare for the risks associated with each decision. Decisions may not be welcomed by everyone initially. They may not see things the way you do.
So communicate. Like the PM address to the nation. Whether it is done before or after the decision depends on the circumstances. But communicate you must.
And like Ratan Tata is credited to have saying, “There are no right decisions. You take a decision and make it right”.
Thanks and Best Wishes
Tanish Mathur, PMP, PMI-ACP