vi) Processes Behind Key Business Decisions


According to Jim Collins, author of the successful business books entitled "Built to Last"and "Good to Great", the necessary context for key decision-making involves these elements:

. Key decisions are about people decisions, ie not about "what" but about "who"

. Having the right people around you, especially in uncertain times

. Being prepared to say "I don't know" as the starting point

. Encouraging disagreement and debate that is real and significant, ie conflict occurs

. It is not about consensus

. It has an internal focus and then looks outside

. It revolves around answering 3 questions, ie

- What is really driving us internally?

- What is the truth about the outside world (how does it operate and how is it changing)?

- What can our organisation distinctly contribute better than anyone else?

. Usually there is a whole bunch of accumulated decisions rather than one big one

. People being accountable

. You are in control of your own destiny

(source: Jim Collins, 2005)

An alternative is exploring 3 process styles of decision-making, ie win/lose, win/win (easy or tough)
" the English-speaking world we are probably more accustomed to processes that are competitive and adversarial. Our second alternative is consensual, subduing individual instincts to fit in. There's a third alternative that encourages everyone to contribute, and then to devise good collective outcomes..."
Bob Dick, 2021c

The 3 processes that are

i) 'win/lose' (adversarial, ie one wins, other(s) loses; winner takes all; do whatever it takes to win, ie
"...People use selective information to support their own case. Relationships may or may not be close - they may be formal, antagonistic...... outcomes may be disappointing except for one person or side, sometimes eventually for all..."
Bob Dick, 2021c

Some downsides include losing party, feeling unhappy and opportunities may be missed

Some examples include most politics, law, industrial relations, some negotiations, etc

ii) easy 'win-win' (consensual; parties share some common goals, ie initially identify areas of agreement or shared goals; build on that agreement and put disagreements aside, ie suppress disagreements; a possible downside is opportunities may be missed

A compromise very often a 'partial win/partial win'

iii) tough 'win-win' (dialectic, ie craft agreement from disagreement; pool information, explore disagreements and make collective decisions, ie
"...That's interesting. I have a different view. Please help me understand your position better..."
Bob Dick, 2021c

This involves
"...- honest information, directly communicated
    - vigorously seeking out different views, opinions and information
    - striving to understand what others say, with genuine curiosity
    - treating disagreement as indicating that understanding is inadequate......"

Examples: Delphi process; sociocratic consent process; Chris Argyis's 'Model 11' Communications; Rosenberg's 'nonviolent communication'; Judith Glaser's 'conversational intelligence'; some approaches to conflict management..."
Bob Dick, 2021c

This process encourages dissent as it leads to deeper understanding as participants learn from one another, ie mutual education; relationships are both valued and eventually enhanced (depending on skilful communications). The Eventual outcome is enhanced decision-making and performance.


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