Monday, 11 August 2014

Decision Making – The Doers and the Thinkers

Authored by Raneem El Banna

Every battle has a winner, and in some instances the way the battle ends is very surprising. Over the years history has demonstrated the fall of great armies to unstructured troops. Guerrilla warfare has been adopted during many battles and on many occasions has proved to be successful, but why would great armies fall in the face of small unequipped groups? Is it the freedom of decision making inside these groups in contrast to the rigid structure of the armies that lead to their downfall?

Like any army, irregular troops also have tactics and structure as well as missions and targets, however unlike the foundations of traditional army, they have the freedom to assess the situation they are in and act accordingly. In a fast chain of events the ability to make decisions plays a very important role in gaining an advantage. With the current economic climate growing faster than ever, decision making has to be carried out as quickly and efficiently as possible with more and more organizations adopting a decentralized organizational structure relying on several individuals to make business decisions. Although still aligned, it allows those involved in certain functions within the organization to have an influence on the decisions made that have a direct effect on their operations. If an army fails because of the bureaucracy of hierarchical of decision making, what can we say about an organization?

During my time implementing technology within procurement departments, the lack of freedom given to employees when it came to decision making was evidently visible. A very simple tendering process would end up being a much longer procedure due to the vast number of steps in need of approval, massively stunting the creativity and time management of the project. Some organizations attempted to restructure the old way of thinking giving employees more freedom, but unfortunately, the employees lacked the confidence in decision making or in taking any form of responsibility for a tool they would ultimately be using on a day to day basis.

By limiting employees to conforming rather than participating in decision making, are we turning them into doers rather than thinkers? Are we diminishing their fighting spirit and competitiveness in achieving better within the organization and against their competitors? And in turn does this have an effect on the opposition and their strategy? We’d love to hear your views on this!

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