It is easy to forget how multilayered decision-making actually is. We are not always conscious of how our personality, culture, experience and circumstances combine when we are faced with choices. You can find, at any time, several blog posts and media reports of good decision-making and bad decision-making. (Although we hear more about bad decision-making).
If you have been following the news lately, you are well aware that the US government has been shut down due to a major impasse between the two political parties. There was a mega-deal between two semi-conductor companies (Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron) which is awaiting anti-trust approval. Sears, an large American retailer, has sold off a number of its more successful locations to raise cash. Finally, there is an interesting review of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Knowledge@Wharton blog.which asks if culture may have adversely affected how decisions were made.
Experience vs inexperience
One would think that more seasoned leaders would be more competent in their decision-making processes. Certainly, inexperienced leaders might miss pieces that need their attention. According to a post written by Wendy Lea on Venture Beat, there are two areas that could cloud or outright prevent the most effective decision-making:
- Fixating on the grand vision
- Focusing more on the valuation or exit strategy and not the product
For more experienced leaders, there are other possible interruptors:
- Too much reliance on past experience or honed skills
- Politically motivated factors
- Disengaged from value system
- Mismanaged resources
- Inability to recognize opportunity
- Lack of trust in self
Are we ignoring underlining influencers?
Most of the time, a leader’s focus is on the available data, question and possible choices. But there are other influences at hand which may need to be recognize. In the Knowledge@Wharton post, “Lessons in Leadership from the Fukushima Nuclear Disaster“, there is an interesting discussion that culture, a strong desire to make sure the plant got built and a lack of attention to long-standing historical records identifying the dangers of earthquakes and tsunamis. While the Fukushima disaster occurred in Japan, it raises the question when one looks at leaders in other parts of the world as well. The potential for a sort of social blindness or deafness coupled with ambition, greed, enthusiasm, desire and other emotions exists.
While there is much written about best leadership practices and leadership styles, it is clear that people continue to make lousy decisions. Fortunately not all of these decisions result in scandals, disasters or failures. However, questions remain…what if decision-making is more than the immediate data and options?
Join us on Friday, October 11, 2013 at 5pm GMT/12pm ET/9am PT on the Twitter chat, #KaizenBiz to take a closer look at “Beyond Leadership – What If Decision-Making Is More Than Data and Options?”
What are the primary elements in the decision-making process?
When do you keep the focus on the question at hand vs when to look at larger picture?
How could culture actually set up environment for bad decisions?
How do we encourage leaders across industries and organizations to expand their self-awareness?
Bonus question: How could game theory support more effective decision-making?