Here's a brilliant post from "decision-making" guru Tom Davenport. He asks us to "make 2009 the Year of Better Decisions."
Here's what Davenport recommends:
1) Make a list of key decisions: not all decisions are equal, so you have to ask yourself what the key decisions are.
2) Classify decisions by type: For example, is the decision financial, personal, strategic, or tactical? By deciding how to treat different types of decisions differently, companies (and individuals) can become more effective.
3) Track decisions and their outcomes: without this, you can't improve your decision-making abilities. And if things did go wrong, why did it happen?
4) Establish a decision-making coaching group: to improve decision-making across the company!
5) Create a decision-making process for the company: how do we make this decision? Davenport gives us an example from Air-Products (the company which, I believe, initially decided that not using an ERP system would be a competitive advantage.)
- the name of the person accountable for carrying it out;
- the deadline;
- the names of the people who will be affected by the decision and therefore have to know about, understand, and approve it—or at least not be strongly opposed to it—and
- the names of the people who have to be informed of the decision, even if they are not directly affected by it.
And one more crucial point from Drucker:
Most discussions of decision making assume that only senior executives make decisions or that only senior executives' decisions matter. This is a dangerous mistake. Decisions are made at every level of the organization, beginning with individual professional contributors and frontline supervisors. These apparently low-level decisions are extremely important in a knowledge-based organization. Knowledge workers are supposed to know more about their areas of specialization—for example, tax accounting—than anybody else, so their decisions are likely to have an impact throughout the company. Making good decisions is a crucial skill at every level. It needs to be taught explicitly to everyone in organizations that are based on knowledge.
I'm counting on Obama being a far-better decision-maker than Dick Cheney.