If we wait until we’ve satisfied all the uncertainties, it may be too late. Lee Iacocca
One of the toughest parts of decision making is trying to minimize the uncertainties associated with the decision so as to ensure that we improve the chances of having taken the right decision. There are numerous reasons why getting answers to all uncertainties is extremely difficult. To begin with there is a tradeoff between the time available to get all the inputs required to answer all uncertainties and the time frame within which to take the decision. There are numerous uncertainties where a judgment is the only way one can use to determine the probability of nailing the uncertainity.eg if we visit a couple of doctors for each ones expert opinion on a serious illness and all of them suggest a different line of treatment, we have no choice but to go with one of those recommendations. As a result, most times apart from using the available data we end up having to use our judgment and rely on our prior experience to arrive at a decision.
One of the most common ailments of decision making prevalent largely in the corporate world is described as Paralysis by analysis. Here the problem arises not because the decision to be made is really tough but more because the decision makers don’t want to be held responsible in case their decision goes wrong. As a result they would attempt to use all techniques and tools to study and analyze the data available and they would even tweak it till it confirms what they want to believe or prove so that there is ample paperwork to justify their decision. Unfortunately since most decisions are time bound, decision makers can be mentally paralyzed by the reams of analytical data that is generated which may be quite at variance with our expectations and the decision making process goes for a toss.
Decisions concerning relationships are even more tough because it calls for a value judgment. A simple test is to write down the qualities of an ideal spouse. Most times this process for married people poses a serious problem of having to forcefully appreciate the qualities of a spouse. For those yet unmarried the problem is one of how to prune the list. The tough part is yet to come; for those who are yet to be married the question is how does one really recognize this quality or attribute in their to be spouse for the married person it is accepting the reality that many of those attributes longed for are utopian and unrealistic now. Breaking off a friendship or relationship is perhaps one of the toughest decisions because it is hurtful, painful, emotional and distressing for all concerned. Many a time this happens when there is mistrust and doubt and an amicable parting is often difficult but inevitable. Here the sheer pressure of the uncertainly in the relationship could prove to be a mill stone in the relationship which ultimately drowns it perhaps a wee bit too late. Even more tough is to take a decision to part because pure rational itself does not provide the answers to all the uncertainties associated with the relationship. E.g. An office romance between a married boss and a subordinate or social pressures associated with a gay relationship or the breaking up of a partnership or a joint venture because the parties have divergent view points.
Remember: “My basic principle is that you don’t make decisions because they are easy; you don’t make them because they are cheap; you don’t make them because they’re popular; you make them because they’re right.” Theodore Hesburgh
- Your most intimate friend has picked up a new job and ever since his visits and interactions have come down. You are disappointed and not sure if it is only the new job that is the reason for this sudden drop in communications and interactions. You are confused and hurt but you still cherish his friendship. How will you ensure that you don’t take a drastic or wrong decision by cutting off all your ties while at the same time ensuring that he still values your friendship?
- You are at a famous art museum that has a Picasso, a Rembrandt and a Van Gogh painting among some other prized paintings being exhibited. Suddenly there is a fire in the museum and you are able to save just one painting. Which painting will you save? (The answer to this will be published in our weekly blog www.poweract.blogspot.com before this weekend)
This post is courtesy www.actspot.com
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