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The 'Doing' versus 'Decision' balance

When businesses are struggling to deliver their products and services on time I often see the conflict between the doing tasks and decision tasks.

It seems to be a balance that most of us have to deal with at some point in our careers and I think that most of us have a natural preference.

As we progress through our job roles we move from lots of doing to lots of decision making, and in-between will be that balance where we find that just working harder won't be the solution.

However, when there are decisions to be made in a business it is important for us to be aware of which side of this balance we are leaning towards.


If our natural instinct is to get our sleeves rolled up and get into the thick of things we need to be aware of this.

Likewise, if we prefer to sit in a dark room and decide what is the right course of action then being aware of this is also useful.

When crunch time arrives this balance will come into effect; your preference is likely to emerge.

But, depending on where you are in the business' hierarchy the proper activity will be different and will affect the outcome of the situation significantly.

If your position in the business is in management (or higher) then making decisions is more likely to be the emphasis. A swift decision of how your business is going to manage a situation can have a bigger impact than just you trying to get involved. This of course depends on the number of people working on the issue at hand and the time available to sort out the problem.

This balance is much like the 'fight or flight' response you experience when a stress inducing situation experience is encountered. In this case a choice is made to physically do something or mentally do something. Neither option is necessarily wrong, it is just that the result can be a lot different.

Of course, if you don't make the right choice that can affect the situation longer term, performance will suffer and you will find that you end up in a Groundhog Day situation. The same problem will crop up time and time again

There is a right time to be action orientated and a right time to be thinking orientated.

The point of this post is that I want you to be aware of what your preference is, in case some of your past approaches to business problems haven't been the optimum choice.

If you get a chance today, have a look back at some of your recent 'crunch time' situations and decide whether you got the balance between doing and decision right.


Giles



About the author
Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes.

Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.




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