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1 Tools for Success: Making Great Decisions in Your Career and Your Life.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Tools for Success: Making Great Decisions in Your Career and Your Life."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Tools for Success: Making Great Decisions in Your Career and Your Life

2 2 A quote from George Canning 1770-1827, British Foreign Secretary: “Indecision and delays are the parents of failure.”

3 3 The world is constantly throwing opportunities at people, and they react as best they can. Hey, I heard one of your old classmates got a position in London. Maybe she can get you a job? One of the incoming class had to back out, and there is a spot open in the fellowship. Should you try and grab it? Your Chair just invited you to be on a committee. But you are already fully booked, and is this the right committee for you? I just heard your significant other is moving to Paris. Are you going to move as well?

4 4 What makes decision making difficult in your organization?

5 5 Decision making is difficult for two main reasons: It is difficult to obtain clarity on the course of action which will deliver the most of what you want. It is difficult to achieve alignment between all of the players who will play a role in translating the decision into realized (rather than potential) value. Clarity & Alignment

6 6 Objectives: Objectives Who are the players and what do they want?

7 7 Structuring: Structuring How are we defining the decision, and how are we going to go about making it? Objectives

8 8 Choices: Structuring Objectives Choices What is the full range of action open to us?

9 9 Knowledge: Structuring Objectives Choices Knowledge What do we know, and what don’t we know?

10 10 Quotes from Clayton Christensen (Author of the Innovator’s Dilemma): “How can you make sense of the future when you only have data about the past?” –You have to have a viable perspective about why things might turn out differently than they did last time “The higher you go up the hierarchy, the less information is available.” –Data is heavy. It wants to go down, not up, in an organization. –Information about problems sinks to the bottom, out of the eyesight and earshot of senior managers.

11 11 Evaluation: Structuring Objectives Choices Knowledge Evaluation How do each of the things we can do rate on the things we want?

12 12 Execution: Structuring Objectives Choices Knowledge Evaluation Execution Is everyone needed for successful execution aligned and committed?

13 13 A decision is an irrevocable allocation of resources. If you decide, and then decide again when it is time to invest, you never decided the first time.

14 14 People, Culture, and Decision Process: Structuring Objectives Choices Knowledge Evaluation Execution People, Culture, and Decision Process Do we have the right people involved, and are we making this decision in a way that makes sense for us?

15 15 Who should make the decision? The decision team should be explicitly identified, rather than implicitly assumed. The decision team should be the smallest group at the lowest level such that if they collectively agree they are unlikely to be overruled. Getting decisions made at the right level requires delegation, trust, and empowerment.

16 16 Structuring Objectives Choices Knowledge Evaluation Execution People, Culture, and Decision Process Which attribute limits the quality of a decision?

17 17 We use a simple scale to judge the readiness for decision making – the traffic signal. Red means stop. There is not yet sufficient understanding to make a quality decision. At this stage you probably do not know the correct questions to ask. Yellow means proceed with caution. Making a decision now is risky as there is much yet to do. The answers you have are now are not yet solid, and may continue to change. Green means go. You have done sufficient work to make the decision. More work to refine will not be worth its cost. You have credible answers to most of the key questions. Red Yellow Green

18 18 Focus the conversations on moving the reds to yellows and the yellows to greens. Meeting 1Meeting 2Meeting 3Meeting 4 Objectives YellowGreen Structuring Green Choices RedYellowGreen Knowledge RedYellow Green Evaluation Red YellowGreen Execution RedYellowGreen People, Culture, & Decision process Green

19 19 Getting to deeper shades of green on an attribute doesn’t help if other attributes are red or yellow. Pale Green Forest Green Spring Green Dark Green

20 20 The one page decision quality diagnostic: What are we are trying to maximize? Have we considered the key objectives of each of the major players? Does everyone understand and agree on the givens? Where does this decision fit within our organization’s priorities? Do we have more than one choice, or is it “do it or don’t do it?” Is everything mild, or do we have a touch of wild? What are our key knowledge gaps? What is the most interesting thing we think we know? How does each alternative rate on the things we care about? Have we specified how we will measure the results after we choose? Does everyone understand what has been decided, and are they aligned and committed to making it happen? What are the potential stumbling blocks for execution? Is it clear who will make the decision and what the process will be? What cultural challenges arise from our selected choice? Objectives Structuring Choices Knowledge Evaluation Execution People, Culture, & Decision Process

21 21 The decision process is really a project with a start, a middle, and an end. There are two types of people and two types of jobs in this world: Project people and jobs are used to dealing with things that have a start, a middle, and an end. Then they move on to the next activity. Process people and jobs are not used to ending things – their jobs go on indefinitely. What happens when you treat a decision project as a process?

22 22 A quote from Mario Andretti, race car driver: “If everything seems under control, you're just not going fast enough.”

23 23 We address objectives by identifying the players and what they want. Identify the categories of players relevant to the decision. Players might include: Create a table with the players as columns, and the rows being their objectives from most to least important. Typically 3-5 rows will cover the important objectives. Patients Nurses Physicians Hospital management Department management Employees Unions Governments Regulators

24 24 Who are the players and what do they want? Cost effectiveness Physician commute from home Quality of medical care Physician satisfaction Physician access to colleagues at existing hospital Member driving time Member satisfactionTotal compensation Ease of patient parking What Do They Want? Most Important Lesser Importance Who Are the Players? HMO Managers Physicians As Workers Members (Patients)

25 25 Some of the objectives may be treated as constraints rather than criteria. How would you trade off safety with $? Environmental damage with $? Quality of patient care with $? Rather than treating safety and the environment as objectives to be traded off, consider treating them as constraints – any alternative we consider must meet all relevant safety and environmental rules and regulations.

26 26 Objectives – who are the players, and what do they want? (I) Most Important Lesser Importance WifeHusband Location with nice weather Harriet’s commute Attractive home and grounds Access to nature / outdoorsHarriet’s commute Large enough should we have kids Leo’s commute Ready to move in – no major projects required

27 27 Who are the players, and what do they want? What Do They Want? Most Important Lesser Importance Who Are the Players?

28 28 A quote from R. Buckminster Fuller (1895 - 1983) US architect, author: “A problem adequately stated is a problem well on its way to being solved.”

29 29 The Decision hierarchy: Take as Given Decisions to Make in This Effort Hold Until Later The givens are phrased as explicitly and provocatively as possible to get clear reactions from the decision makers. The working team commits to come back to the decision makers with insight and recommendations on all of the decisions in this category. Typically there will be 5 +/- 2 decisions to make now. The hold until later category contains the additional decisions which must be made for successful execution once the main choice has been made. Some of these decisions may be huge, but they should not be made until after the “focus on” decisions have been made.

30 30 A decision hierarchy focused our effort:  Number of Bedrooms  City / Suburb  Quality of View  Minor fix-ups (what to do, who to do them)  Landscaping  We are looking to buy, not rent.  We will not make an offer for more than $X. We will make only serious offers that demand attention.  Neither average commute will be greater than 40 minutes.  We will not live in a fog belt.  We are not fixit type of people, and need a new or recently remodeled house that is ready to go. Take as Given Decisions to Make in This Effort Hold Until Later

31 31 Go out on a limb with your givens so people can agree or disagree with them. Useless given: We like nice weather Valuable given: We will not live in the fog belt.

32 32 The decision hierarchy: Take as Given Decisions to Make in This Effort Hold Until Later

33 33 33 A quote by former British Prime Minister Tony Blair: “The art of leadership is not saying Yes, it’s saying No.”

34 34 To address quarterly and annual focus, use the leadership agenda: Above the Line Below the Line Take The Lead Guide Hands-Off

35 35 The leadership agenda must be tied into your personal and team calendars. Take The Lead Guide Hands-Off Above the Line Below the Line Paper: Should we Exit lightweight coated (LWC) markets worldwide? Building: Engineered building materials strategy Building: Defend Dodesville lawsuit aggressively New Business strategy: energy trading company Energy: Plan for exploring & developing the Eileen basin Forests: Plan for filling timberland age gaps Building: Investment in expansion into Australia Forests: Improving regulatory relationships Building: Improve opportunities from pull-through Building: Use new customer database to increase responsiveness of sales force Forests: Benchmark silviculture costs and reforestation policies of competitors Paper: Improve effectiveness of JIT inventory management program Building: Operational improvement in Waitaki These items appear on the weekly / monthly team meetings. These items are not allowed on your calendar.

36 36 A quote by Mahatma Gandhi: “A “No” uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a “yes” merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.”

37 37 How to give a positive “No”: The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, William Ury A positive No is a Yes! No. Yes? Yes! –Express your interests, Internally focused. No. –Assert your power with respect. Yes? –Further your relationship, Externally focused. Example: I appreciate your asking me to help out on this. But I am currently focused on a major effort which I have committed to deliver in the next two months. (Yes!) Because of this I am not taking on additional projects right now. (No.) But if you would like my help after this effort is finished I would be happy to consider it. (Yes?)

38 38 A quote from Bill Cosby, Comedian: “I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.”

39 39 What should be on your leadership agenda? Above the Line Below the Line Take The Lead Guide Hands-Off

40 40 About Leo Hopf: Leo Hopf works with senior executive teams to bring clarity and alignment to their most pressing strategic issues. He teaches “Decision Making in Organizations” to graduate students in the Management Science and Engineering department at Stanford University and similar topics to executives at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Business where he has been named a Fellow of Executive Education. He is the author of the forthcoming book “Rethink, Reinvent, Reposition: 12 Strategies to Make Over Your Business.” Hopf’s client engagements have included efforts to design the decision making and strategic planning processes for five of the Fortune 100 largest companies. He has led major consulting engagements in Indonesia, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Kuwait. Hopf earned a Masters of Business Administration degree with highest distinction from the Amos Tuck School, and has B.S. degrees in Chemical Engineering and in Metallurgical Engineering from the University of Minnesota.

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