Whatever it Takes the Realities of Managerial Decision Making
The main focus of this book is to develop strategic decision making and critical thinking in the workplace and in everyday life. Situation is which corporate leaders, and front line managers have been highlighted to emphasis the importance of understanding how individuals and groups "think" and "make decisions." This book is designed to help the reader learn how to enhance the effectiveness of their own personal style and improve the dynamics of the groups they interact with and manage. The techniques are designed to increase the productivity and impact of executives on their organizations by enhancing their strategic decision-making and critical-thinking skills. Although not directly stated, key problem solving and decision-making skills empower one to: + Increase your ability to assess thinking styles of other people and have a greater impact in their decisions. + Distinguish between "experience" and effectively learning from experiences. + Learn to envision future possibilities within a realistic and defensible framework. + Gain insight into common decision-making traps and how to avoid them. + Discover practical techniques for enhancing individual performance. + Increase your ability to make sound judgments and add value to the organization. To be a more effective decision-maker Whatever It Takes discusses how to identify a problem, gathering information, or data, how to analyze this data and consider alternatives, how to implement action, and the final step is how to follow-up, evaluate and monitor a plan once it is implemented. The message in chapter one is that problems do not have a clear beginning or end, instead they flow like a stream of events that are not always easy to solve or recognize. Even if a problem is recognized, it is often ill-defined, or ignored because although the effect is clear, the cause may not be, or the problem simply does not have the same priority and other decisions are made. It is the accumulation of choices that creates the importance or urgency to respond. Problems have no certain order, and present themselves in bit and pieces, rather than a single even with a neat beginning and end. It is with this understanding that a manager can begin to look at how information, events and situations are defined as problems. Meaning emerges from this murky stream as a manager digs out the pertinent information and interprets it against their knowledge, work experience and expertise. In the situation where the channels of information are reliable and timely the problem is obvious, however this often is not the case. Whatever It Takes explores quantitative indicators which detect discrepancies by comparing an existing state of affairs and the differences between an existing and a desire state of affairs that announce the presence of problems. Contextual Factors Contextual factors are discussed. These elements pertain to the urgency of the problem. Perceived as urgency can lead to quick action. Contextual factors also determine how a problem is defined. Managers may choose to see or define a problem as of a lesser degree, and, often times, simplify the problem in order to deal with it. A basic fact about the decision-making process is that the more people that get involved, the longer it takes and the harder it is to reach a decision. How a manager defines a problem will in turn influence the emergence of others with vested interest and have power. A skilled manager has the ability to balance power and vested interest. Action Circumstances under which managers are most like to take action when the are three elements present: 1. The Problem is Recognized 2. Necessary Resources 3. There is External Pressure A Venn Diagram is used to illustrate the reality of what move a manager into action. It is only when a manager is able to finesse these three elements that he/she have any degree of control over the problems that confront them. VENN DIAGRAM A Venn diagram uses set of circles in which the position and overlap indicate how the different sets of terms are related. These diagrams are used to test the validity of an argument which is a form of deductive reasoning Quick Action Theory Quick action has do with reacting quickly to a problem or situation that requires immediate attention. A classic case requiring quick action is the business turnaround. For quick action to ensure, speed is best maintained when there is one decision-maker especially if there is a limited amount time to search for information or there is limited information available. Reliance on a few sources does not imply they that the manager is a "Yes Man/Woman" Convoluted Action Theory When more complicated problems are recognized it is necessary to employ the convoluted action theory. The characteristics of this theory are: + The process is relatively long. + Multiple parties are involved + An extensive amount of research is necessary Convoluted action is not compact, it is fragmented extended, and interrupted. And, when it is delayed, it takes one step backward for every two steps forward. After Action After a decision is made, everyone waits to see the effect. In some instances the cause and effect are apparent. Other times, problems seem to go away, but turn up again later, or there is an effect, no connection to a cause. At times, there are instances where the causes are obvious, but the effects are still unknown. Even when an action has an intended effect, it may have multiple endstates-intended and unintended results. Whatever It Takes explains that problems resurface because that there may have been a decision to act, but nothing was implemented because responsibility was unclear. It also alerts the reader to the fact that a manager's tenancy is to rationalize failure and is discouraged by setbacks. However, if intended result is achieved, or not sometimes is beyond the control of either the manager or the company for which he/she works. Causality is problematic. Regardless of how clear or unclear he decision, effect or responsibility, the consequences of action is still subject to debate over time. Different people interpret things differently. An Example of this premise is given in Whatever It Takes is the IBM's STRETCH computer. Initially the project is considered a total failure. Years after the fact, this declaration was recanted and proclaimed the best investment ever. Decisions amount and problem have a proclivity to recur. This refers to the process in which over time, satisfactory decisions set procedures and set the groundwork for policy. Inclosing, Whatever It Takes states that The process by which decision-making practices changes is basically the same process as that which is being changed. Organizations takes action on this front in fundamentally the same way they take action on any other front-by doing whatever it takes.