The John Adair Handbook of Management and Leadership

The John Adair Handbook of Management and Leadership

The John Adair Handbook of Management and Leadership

The John Adair Handbook of Management and Leadership


Decision-making, along with leadership and communication is one of the top three attributes a successful manager needs. It is a direct result of 'thinking' and you need to be able to 'think until it hurts'.Decision-making is directed to reaching a goal/objective. It is about the how, what, why, when (and where) of a course of action and of how to overcome obstacles and to solve problems. Decision-making is what turns thought into action: it implies change and requires a decision to be made against a background of uncertainty and risk.(In this chapter the use of the term 'decision-making' embraces 'problem-solving'.)

You need to be able to choose the action or course of action that is the best for you/your organisation to meet its objective(s). An effective decision is one that produces the goods, ie gives the desired end result.It is important to be able to project ahead, to take the expected and unexpected into account, to have contingency plans in case events intrude in such a way as will turn a good decision into a bad one.There are usually several different decisions that can be taken and pressure to decide. Decide you must, even if trial and error are then used to assess the decision, amend it or overturn it.Fear of failure must not serve to make you risk-averse, rather it should push you harder to 'think until it hurts'.The effective decision has these six elements:

1. Defining the objective

2. Gathering sufficient information

3. Identifying the feasible options

4. Evaluating those options

5. Making the decision (choosing an option)

6. Testing its implementation: by feel, by measurement and by assessment.

You should also listen to your 'feel-right?' test — do warning lights flash or alarm bells sound? If so, re-work decision elements 1-6. (Experience of your own or that of others helps to develop your 'feel' for decisions).A decision is only effective if it is implemented (and that means getting the desired results through people). For that, other people need to be included in the decision-making process. You need to develop your skills in appreciating when it is most appropriate to include others in the decision-making process.An effective decision-maker is always an effective thinker.

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