Published in El Pais, February 8th 2020.
Making decisions is a critical part when you want to be a successful manager. Students who study business administration already learn from the first semester the basic model to make a good decision. However, I think this learning is incomplete. Today I would like to share with you why.
The traditional process of deciding is to analyze the problem, collect information, identify alternatives, evaluate, choose, create a plan. You also must make an evaluation of the process of your decision. However, people in general are not fans of changing things. The idea is simple, while everything is going well better “I do not change anything”, and thus, nothing can go wrong and nobody will scold me, worse if there is an apathetic and lazy manager to strive towards a better situation. Anyway, what is missing is the step to effectively implement your decision. Many managers are obliged to follow the decision process, but at the time of implementation, they begin to postpone and procrastinate with different types of excuses that vary from: “Only a few details are missing”, “We are waiting for this other person…” to “ I have not had time”. The underlying reasons for not executing the decision remain the same.
Making a decision and executing it are two aspects that do not necessarily go together. Some companies want managers who make decisions quickly and are aware that quality may be lacking. In other cases, you have more time to make a decision of high quality and with less risk. The problem of postponing implementation may also occur when the manager is not sure enough of the quality of his decision but has not been given enough time or resources to process decisions. If the company’s culture is fast and risky, there is likely to be enough room to make mistakes, but if not, managers will be afraid of change and risk and will try to postpone their execution.
So, if a company has managers who don’t start new projects quickly, they are probably not convinced of the decision. It means that the decision process needs a review before it can affect the entire business, especially when it concerns strategic decisions.