Feb 27, 2011

On taking decisions

In the past I have provided links to how great leaders arrive at solutions to problems that apparently had no apparent solutions. Being able to make sense of and take the most appropriate decision is an key change agent skill.

In his book ;"Why Great Leaders don't take Yes for an answer", Michael A Roberto talks about how leaders can enhance the quality of their decision making processes. According to him, leaders ( and in our context;change agents) must cultivate constructive conflict so as to enhance the level of critical and divergent thinking,while simultaneously building consensus so as to facilitate the timely and efficient implementation of choices that they make.

The author distinguishes between cognitive conflict     ( Constructive debate that can enhance the decision to be made) and effective conflict(when personality clashes emerge).Similarly consensus in more about every one understanding the rationale of the decision than uniformly agreeing to it. The author then build the following picture on decision success..
For a decision to be a success, it seems what is needed is a process.. a process that effectively balances conflict and consensus. The key elements to be considered in establishing a process of taking a decision include

  • Composition: Who should be involved
  • Communication:What are the means of dialogue among the participants
  • Context: In what types of environment does the decision take place
  • Control : How will the leader control the process and the content of the decision?
Many approaches ( e.g. Edward Debono's Thinking hats) have been recommended and practiced to enable organizations find the right balance.

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