For Practice managers and Clinician in the business of operating more sustainable Health
For many years I have been fascinated in the process of making decisions in business. I have learnt that if this skill is developed then enormous time can be saved/gained and productivity made rather than seeing paralysis by “over analysis”. The formal discipline of decision analysis has a rather turgid definition, sourced from a modification of a definition from Investopedia: “Decision analysis refers to a systematic, quantitative and interactive approach to addressing and evaluating important choices confronted by organisations in the private and public sector. Decision analysis is interdisciplinary and draws on theories from the fields of psychology, economics, and management science”.
Well, that is a mouthful so let me distil my thoughts about making decisions into six words that cover what I suspect are the key considerations.
Over time one gains knowledge about finance, human resources, time management, team building and assessing what is truly important. This knowledge is crucial in the process of making decisions. Work on building your knowledge base.
Understand the capability of your team. We all have strengths and weakness. Some speak a lot and achieve little and other don’t speak up enough and contribute to the discussion. Assist them by putting them in the position to make decisions and even if they are wrong they will learn to make better decisions next time. The only bad result is for no decision to be reached!
None starts with wisdom. Wisdom is the synthesis of experience, knowledge, judgement and learning. It is gained over time. Assist you team to explore how they may gain wisdom and that it takes time. Greater wisdom will lead to better decisions.
Confucius once said: “By three methods may be learn wisdom. The first by reflection which noblest, the second by imitation which is easiest and the third by experience which is the bitterest”.
Sometimes just doing it is required and sod the consequences. There are always consequences so being aware of both the negative and positive consequences need to be outlined/discussed with those making decisions.
Being confident will help with the delivery of a decision and convey a sense of being in control. There are negatives with over confidence so beware how the message of the decision is delivered
Establish the environment of learning with your team. Make sure you direct them to important books, articles etc to learn from and ensure that you regularly follow my aphorism of “teach don’t tell”. Empower them by advising that you want good decisions made and that you will help but at the end of the day they should use their judgement to move forward and act when they feel they have the resources to make the decision.
Remember that unless you assist them to develop this skill you will end with a beautifully coined phrase by one of my leading managers, “needlepoint management”, where all decisions end up coming to you to make… a sure sign of a dysfunctional working situation…