Posts Tagged ‘ decision making ’

When Meetings Aren’t (Completely) Meetings

Over a period of weeks, I’ve been deconstructing and exploring how we meet and make strategic decisions. Given our current pandemic reality, strategic retreats are neither possible nor desirable. My question was how they can be replicated online, and—for extra bonus points—whether it was possible for those meetings to be more effective than what we are more traditionally used to. I was cautiously optimistic at the outset. I’m now quite confident that it is actually possible.



Getting To A Decision Of Sorts

We like to think of deciding as an act of deliberate intent. In actual fact, decisions often simply happen. They emerge and evolve, or arrive at a point where they are simply accepted. All appearances to the contrary, it can be difficult to point to when a decision was actually made, how it was arrived at and by whom. This doesn’t have to be the case. There are ways to improve not just the quality of decisions, but also clarity in the decision making process.



The Accordion Theory of Decision Making

Getting to good decisions is a product of identifying good options. And while groups will tell you that they value good decisions, their behaviour often exhibits a rush towards making fast decisions. There are several cognitive biases that influence this, and these in turn contribute to some significant barriers in generating good options. Doing that requires thinking about accordions and how they work.



Navigating Decision – Exploring What We Know

To make good decisions we require good information. The challenge is that in many instances we make decisions with incomplete and imperfect information, even where further insight was possible. Groups whose diversity should enable differences in perspective and viewpoint often gravitate to the lowest common denominator. Pressure to get to the decision and pulls on attention mean that relevant information doesn’t get the attention or consideration that it should. It doesn’t have to be this way; with a little bit of thought and planning, better process is possible and other perspectives become practical.



The Building Blocks of Decision

If we care about making a good strategic decision, then we need a capable process to get us there. In my last article, I made the argument that if we try to move normal meeting structures online, we are likely to fail. Partly that’s a product of attention span and inadequacies in online meeting technologies….
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It’s The Decision, Stupid

In thinking about how to facilitate strategic discussions in a not face-to-face environment, it is easy to treat the exercise as simply translating in-person activities into an online environment. I believe that is a trap. The reality is that even in person we don’t often conduct good meetings, and we rarely leverage the full diversity of the people at the table. For complex and messy we substitute simple and easy. In discussing strategically important questions online, that is a potential recipe for disaster.



The Decisions Sponsors Have To Make

Being successful as a sponsor requires being attentive. We need to show up, pay attention and provide active support. Where this doesn’t happen, projects fail. Sadly, every once in a while, projects fail anyway. The challenge for sponsors is determining what to do next.



We Are Fundamentally Predisposed To Ignore Context

Culture is important. And context is everything. And yet, when we make decisions, we very often ignore the things that we should pay attention to the most. Worse, our tendency to do that is hard wired. That doesn’t mean it has to stay that way, though.



Motive and Opportunity

Trust is a big thing. A strongly related concept is motive. Our motives shape our intentions, and our perceived actions lead to some pretty significant conclusions about our motives. Getting to the heart of what we are doing, why we are doing it and what we might want to do differently is pretty essential.



Our Actions Define Our Choices

It’s easy to think, “Once I get through this next thing, I’ll have some time.” We often spend time living for the future. We also often resent the lack of time to focus on what we think is most important to us. But we have a choice.



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