For the longest time decisions were made at the top.  They were made by powerful people who had knowledge no one else had, who had insights that no one else could and had skillsets that were unique and unavailable to the masses.  Only they could decide… and to everyone else it was a mystery how they did it.

Enter the new world – with increased competition, a faster rate of change, flattened structures and decentralised locations there simply was not enough time for decisions to be made at the top whilst effectively meeting the needs of the business on a day to day basis.  The next logical choice was the decentralisation of decision making – it makes sense, doesn’t it?

At least it would have made sense had the decentralisation of decision making been decentralised in a smart and trusting way and had it happened in conjunction with the de-mystifying of the decision making process.

Decision making is one of the major blockages that we see in most groups that we work with.  All in all, decision making has become complex, scary and risky – we think it’s time to demystify it.

Many of the blockages that we see come from three basic areas

  1. Lack of skill
  2. Lack of confidence
  3. Lack of authority

Good decision making can only happen if you have the authority to decide, the confidence and freedom to make an unbiased decision and the skills to make that decision effectively.

It should all start with the end in mind…great decisions have to start by having a really clear picture of what you are trying to accomplish.  If more than one person is making the decision together, then they must have a shared view of the end in mind.

Next would be to collect as much information as you can get your hands on – to understand the detail of the decisions you are making so that whatever decision you make, it will be based on the best possible information.

Once you have all available information, it is important to weigh that information, use techniques to measure the information, work out where your concept could all go wrong and get creative about preventing those things from happening (including working out what your exit strategy would be if your decision led to unforeseen consequences).

Finally you must explain why the decision has been made, as a lack of understanding from the powers that be as well as the people that the decision impacts, could be the very thing that derails your decision.

And remember to celebrate your successes and failures, as long as your thinking was sound and everyone learnt along the way, then your decisions will lead to better outcomes.  See, no mystery!


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Written by Lisa Smith

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Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.