A quality decision making process is a key element of the success of a business, and dealing with the positive and negative effects is a matter of necessity. It is important to understand that decision making is not a one-time event, but a collaborative process that is intended to bring multiple perspectives to the table for open discussion. A decision made in isolation has a high probability of being misguided and too narrow in scope.
The Delicate Balance
Because there is a process involved in decision making, other members of the organization at various levels need to be active participants; otherwise a series of negative effects could result. Decision making causes a ripple effect. If a questionable decision is made, especially without the input of others in the organization, then it will go through the departments, and trickle down to the customers.
Conversely, a good decision as a result of collaboration will have positive influence over members of the company. Exclusion of a group or department leads to demoralized managers, and could contribute to loss of control. Employees will also begin to wonder how much control they have over their jobs and about their worth, resulting in decreased company morale.
Likewise, inclusion of departmental managers will provide the opportunity to give feedback and have a voice in the process. The total process will have a far better end result that will positively influence everyone involved.
A View from Above
The one common element that runs through either a positive or negative effect of decision making is taking a bird’s eye view of the problem at hand. Think of every department as a branch on a tree, and how customers look at it. Do they see a branch or the whole tree? This is the same perspective management needs to have when considering the effect of every action.
Although it is true there will be a few departments that will have a greater role in the decision making process, the overall perspective of from the outside is that of the entire tree. Generally, there is little concern by the average viewer of the inner workings of that tree.
Whereas the tree-perspective provides us with a helpful analogy of big-picture viewing, the ripple effects caused by decision making (including indecision) need to be seen as an ocean wave. Once the momentum begins, it is difficult to stop it. When involving different departments to collaborate, there are a number of views on how the decision is affecting everyone, and any problems can be dealt with the same way the process was conducted – collaboratively.
The ripple effect can be seen as a way to manage potential long term effects either for the benefit of the organization or to minimize and mitigate further negative impacts including risks. Either way, understanding the effects of a decision is the first step toward making the best one.
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