Decision Making

During the course of recent reading, I came across several discussions about the concept of making decisions. One of the more interesting facts I came across is that there are two types of decision makers – those who take the safe routes, and those who dare. Reflecting over various events, along with supporting evidence provided in various texts, I agree with one of the authors, who opines that those who dare should be encouraged.

Those who dare are not necessarily the same as people who are reckless. That is, their decisions may appear to be daring, but reflection on those decisions will show that there was a logic to the process. When evaluating options, they look to the benefits of all options, and weigh the risks against them. Choices are made on the basis of potential outcomes, not merely the known outcomes.

Additionally, it can be difficult within a large organization to get decisions made. Those who will follow the safe paths will tend to avoid making decisions where possible, deferring to others. Those who dare will make a choice, which serves at a minimum to drive momentum. The example one author cites is a decision as to which direction to move. One who dares might choose East, then discover that the true direction to move in is North. Having made a decision, though, it provided the stimulus to start moving, even if a corrections needs to be made later.

Unfortunately, such decision makers are often at risk for their decisions. By daring in their decisions, their achievements will be noted, but their failures will speak even louder. Sadly, this can cost an organization such people – it is not a requirement that people be infallible, but that they act responsibly on the basis of what they know, and that they make use of sources of information and opinions appropriately. That is, they should not be acting recklessly, but to err is not the same thing.