Chapter 9: Structuring and Using Robust Decision-Making Practices
This chapter presents a robust decision-making process that seeks to enhance the likelihood of arriving at optimal solutions and avoiding unwise decisions. This is a critical characteristic of effective leaders.
Thoughtful leaders consider several issues before embarking on decision-making: 1) They begin by identifying the major types of meetings held in the organization, making a distinction between meetings that provide updates, share information, make decisions and provide continuous improvement ideas; 2) They select a team composed of a diverse group, but one that shares compatible perspectives, insights, and styles; 3) They craft meeting management rules that will guide discussion, such as always having a meeting agenda and limiting social time to the first few minutes of the meeting; 4) They incorporate a “plus delta” conversation at the end of every meeting, so they can routinize positive sharing and improvement practices, and 5) They measure the quality of their decision-making against the values of the organization.
The Robust Decision-Making Model makes a clear distinction between identifying problems and solving problems. The identification phase is when decision-makers seek to identify the core problems or issues. They do so by gathering information, analyzing it, and identifying the essence of the challenge. The resolution phase is when decision-makers decide what to do about the problem or challenge on both a strategic and a tactical level. They do so by gathering possible solutions, analyzing them and finally, selecting the optimal solution and path forward.
To optimize the process, effective leaders engage in several behind-the-scenes strategies, such as encouraging iterative rather than linear thinking, and downplaying the status and roles of decision-makers.
- explain major decision-making tensions
- describe the key elements of a pre-decision-making checklist
- identify the stages of the robust decision making model
- implement major strategies for optimizing the decision-making process
Drill Down Exercises
- Create a ledger with two columns. In Column 1, identify three meetings you’ve attended where you thought the collaboration costs were worth the expenditure of time and energy. In Column 2, identify three meetings where you thought the collaboration costs exceeded the benefits experienced. List three insights you can discern from the patterns that emerge from your ledger. (Hint: use the Robust Decision-Making model as a starting point to detect patterns.)
- List three typical excuses managers might give for avoiding a “plus delta” discussion at the end of a meeting. How would you respond to each of these arguments?
- Create a ledger with two columns. In Column 1, list three situations where it would advisable to maximize the amount of time decision-making teams spend on the Identification phase (e.g. 1st funnel). In Column 2, list three situations where it would advisable to maximize the amount of time decision-making teams spend on the Resolution Phase (e.g. 2nd funnel). List three insights you can discern from the patterns that emerge from your ledger.