How hard is it to make a decision?

How hard can it be for a group of people to make a decision? Well in the first place it depends whether they are making a decision about the problems causing a situation or whether they are looking at implementing solutions.

If it’s the former then the first mistake that groups/teams make is to jump straight to the conclusion that ‘x’ or ‘y’ caused the problem. When in fact the first thing to do is to identify ALL the possible causes and then and only then, determine which is the key or main cause.

If a group has followed this process then they have gone a long way to making their job easier. Singling out the main cause requires selecting the right tool to use to do the job.

 

The right tool for the job…

Recently I was trying to explain to someone why the choice of the right tool to make decisions was crucial and I hit upon the concept of ‘opening bottles and jars/cans (of food)’. When we open a beer bottle we need a bottle opener. When we open a good bottle of wine we need a corkscrew. When we open a can or jar we may be able to do it with our (bare) hands but sometimes we need a ‘device’ to strengthen our grip on the jar or we need a special ‘can opener’ if it’s metal.

So what does that tell us? It tells us that we need to choose the right tool for the job of trying to narrow down the cause of a problem.  You may not be aware but there are many tools available to help us make decisions.

 

Where can you find these tools?

Well MultiWallConnect has a range of tools from the simple ‘Brain dumping’ – where we put our thoughts into the smart device and they are displayed on the MultiWall. Then we can sort and cluster them and give them appropriate headings. This gives us the ‘issues’.

If the problem is only obvious in terms of the symptoms MultiWall can help because it has a tool called: SCA – Symptom, Cause (and Action). If the problem is ‘wicked’ – meaning it has many dimensions and inter-relating causes then we might want to use ‘Is and Is Not’. MultiWall has a tool to display this kind of thinking.

So what do we do when we have identified our causes using one of the tools above? Well we can use anyone of a number of prioritisation tools built into MultiWallConnect:

 

Voting – this allows users to allocate a number of ‘votes’ to the issue that they think is the most serious.

Four Box – this allows the issues to be displayed on a four-box grid and to annotate the ‘x’ and ‘y’ axis to help us with our decision. For example: (‘x’) “Seriousness” and (‘y’) “Difficulty of Putting it right”.

Essential and Desirable and/or Must, Should, Could – these two tools differ only in the gradation. The ‘M, S, C, tool, often called: MoSCoW, helps to sort the causes into those that we must, should or could tackle.

 

With MultiWall we can combine the use of these tools: using Voting within the Four Box or Essential and Desirable.

 

With MultiWall we can combine the use of these tools: using Voting within the Four Box or Essential and Desirable.

The outcome?

We can make better decisions and we can be confident because the way we did it was robust.

Choosing between different solutions follows a similar path. The difference being that we need, first to identify the criteria against which our options are going to be measured. Again MultiWallConnect can help us by enabling us to: Brain dumping the possible criteria, then Voting which ones are critical or use the Four Box or Essential and Desirable to narrow down our choice. Using a Matrix that is also available within MultiWallConnect we can compare our solution options against our criteria – and we have made a decision as to which solution to choose.

MultiWallConnect doesn’t stop there it also has an Action Planning tool to enable a management team to plan the actions needed to take the solution forward.

 

Process over Pace

Following the decision making process built in to MultiWall may take a little longer than a gut instinct fire fighting approach to an issue, however as a group you can be confident it is the right decision and the issue when actioned accordingly will unlikely appear again within the business.

Whereas with a fire fighting approach the problem will appear again costing the business more time and money.

So, how confident are you that your business is making the right decisions?

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