Decision Making - Bold Corrections

Updated: Dec 12, 2021

Decision-making is a key leadership skill.

One of the many challenges to effective decision-making lies in change.

We live in an incredibly fast-paced world with access to information from multiple sources at our fingertips; we can see events evolving quickly.

But how best to be prepared to respond effectively?

Leaders in most modern militaries are taught and practice complex decision-making routinely. Critical components of the most effective decision-making tools is a method by which leaders evaluate the “whats” and “why” of the given task and their part in the overall purpose of the endeavour. A key question leaders must address in this process is, “what happens if the situation changes?” In some circles this is simply referred to as “Question 4”. Many good practitioners routinely replace “if” with “when”, following the well-versed (abridged) maxim of “no plan survives contact with the enemy”. By doing so one can focus on tackling some of the most likely or most threatening potential outcomes that could emerge as a result of action and the associated consequences. It gives focus to prioritising contingency development.

Organisations, of whatever size, can use this framework to support better decision-making.

By adopting the discipline of planning, however quickly or at whatever level of detail, and addressing “Question 4”, leaders will have at least considered some potential options to address change as the plan is being implemented.

They will be better prepared when change does occur.

The impact of Covid-19 has forced many of us to go through this process, even if unconsciously, in the last 18 months or so. Frequent and often short notice changes to national Covid-19 postures related to travel, quarantine, and other restrictive measure have all forced us, whether individually or as part of a wider organisation to review plans. Those that have had the foresight to at least consider contingencies can be more decisive earlier, often saving both money and time. To summarise, they are better placed to make “bold corrections” to plans and adjust to change with less potential negative impact.

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