The Strategist

Are We Making Decisions, Or Making Decisions Work

03/17/2015 - 06:24

Taking decisions and making decisions may sounds similar but that similarity ends there. Read on to find out key factors which influence our decision making process.

There is a clear difference between making decisions and taking decision and making them work. Take for example the following scenario, you buy a particular company’s stock in order to invest in that business. You have made that decision. Once you have committed to the investment, your options are only two-fold, you can either buy or sell. You cannot in any way influence over the success of that organization.

On the other hand, instead of investing your money in a stock, you could invest it by starting your own business. Naturally, doing so entails strategic decision making, knowing your customer, identifying a target group, and creating a product for it. The success or the lack of it, is essentially in your hands. The success of your organization will depend on your business decision making skills. You have to make your decisions work for you.

Once you start examining and minutely scrutinizing the decision making tree which the average Joe takes, there appears to be different approaches to a common problem. Although inherently, there is nothing wrong with that, but it only goes to show that there is always scope for further tweaking our approach to extract maximum mileage.

Take for example, the question of a talented individual and the regular Joe working in an organization, doing the same routines and the same tasks. You would naturally expect this naturally gifted individual outperform the regular Joe, after all, he is exceptionally talented. Fact of the matter is that, the difference in output by both individuals, is not much. Question is, as a business entity what are we doing in order to make our HR policy work? What systems are in place to ensure that the exceptional individuals that we hire, are put to use in an exceptionally effective manner? Or as Warren Buffet puts it, what is the performance benefit when a talented individual is tasked to work in a distinctly average business concern? The answer, as you have guessed it, is pretty obvious.

On the other hand, when it comes to product strategy, we tend to lean on the other extreme. Whenever an organization’s services or products suffer, more initiatives and men are poured into it, so as to solve the problem. If a product line is going south, efforts are redoubled to ensure increase its sales, in order to secure market share. Selling strategies are cooked up and the marketing budget increased … all so that the problem is effectively solved. Our energies are directed towards making our decisions work. But the root question does not come to mind, given the scenario, whether we still want to be selling products in this market? Whether we still want to be in this business?

Biases are naturally occurring events. It happens to everybody. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why we tend to focus on recruiting instead of focusing on the organization’s requirements and needs. Focusing on shiny talented individuals is way more appealing than focusing on tedious matters of rethinking the business’s marketing strategy.

Psychologically, product strategy comes to us more naturally too: it is much easier to proactively defend the product by pushing sales vide brilliant marketing strategies. On the other hand it is distinctly less appealing to entertain the possibility that the market does not give a damn any more about our product.

Given the economic scenario, as far as making decisions are concerned, it is high time that we step back a little and review our decision making process. As for product strategies are concerned we need to make some tough decisions and ensure that they in fact work.