The Pain of Decision Making


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Have you ever witnessed your boss pondering the consequences over a decision that appeared simplistic in nature. Better still, have you ever become disappointed when decisions that drive competitive advantages linger in hopeless limbo? Well, unfortunately, you are partners with many club members; many of us have experienced the frustrations of decision-making paralysis. Some of us may even be the culprits of this affliction. So here is the real deal. Bosses find at the foundation of their decision-making is the protection of material information; specific leadership preferences; legal and regulatory constraints; and/or draconian activities that are afoot. Consequently, group decision-making may be inappropriate. There are also times when a decision adversely affects members within a group; causing leaders to make unilateral decisions. Sometimes organizational culture, values, and norms prevent open decision-making; particularly during times of profound change or cultural shifts. Hence, these are but a few reasons why group-decision making may be inappropriate. Typically, group decision-making may be unsuitable when promoting a new strategic vision, particularly when certain team members are excluded from future initiatives. Under these circumstances, such a unilateral decision may be considered extricating decision-making; which means you are excluded!

Situational factors determine effective navigation for appropriate decision-making. These conditions may engage a leader perceptions, biases, and misunderstandings. Some leaders may maneuver through challenging decisions by replacing the needs of the company with their personal and sometimes entrenched desires. Others may make a decision under the assumption that key stakeholders or partners understand and harbor similar positions; while in reality they do not. Decision-making, although influenced by internal dominant coalitions that operate within the confines of organizations, may be undermined or circumvented by external forces; i.e., national and international policies, regulations, market forces, and changing consumer demands. Moreover, organizations with entrenched structural inertia and a protectionist mentality will have difficulty making effective and timely strategic and tactical decisions. Savvy leaders take extra precaution, reasonable time, and energy to understand and review the organizational environment prior to making any decision (collaborative or unilateral). Best performing companies practice and maintain the appropriate decision-making organizational climate; motivating members to act in a manner that fosters good and timely decision-making throughout the enterprise.

Dr. Johnny D. Magwood
Northeast Utilities Service Company
V.P. Customer Experience & Chief Customer Officer; Northeast Utilities Service Company. J. D. Power Smart Grid Advisory Council; Chairman- Housing Authority Baltimore City; Next Generation Utilities Advisory Board; Utility Knowledge Customer Service Council; CS Advisory Council; Magistrate Judge Seletion Committee. Marketing Executive Council; Mechanical Engineer - The Johns Hopkins University; MBA - Loyola University of Maryland; DBA - University of Phoenix; Doctoral dissertation; Mergers and Acquisition: The Role of Corporate Executives' Relationships with Stakeholders


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