Monday, January 26, 2009

Decision Making Tips to Resolve Problems of Managers

Can’t seem to decide on a course of action? Pull up your socks and find the way out. Quite often managers are stuck when confronted by a problem. The immediate “reaction” is either to pass the buck or look at ways it in which similar issues were resolved earlier. And jump to conclusions.

That may not be the best course though. Problems need to be look at freshly each time. Since the attendant complexities change over time. So, how does one decide the best course of action?

Define the problem
You can’t resolve anything unless you understand it completely. Write down the problem on a paper or board.
Why do you think there’s a problem?
How did you know there was a problem?
When did it occur?
How did it happen?
Who was around when it happened?
Are there known instances of such occurrences?
The how, what, why, where, when need to be understood.

Find possible quality parameters or standards to judge the issue
How are you going to measure the quality of the solution? Lay down the standards and guidelines, so that team mates know what to monitor during problem solving.

Identify a list of possible actions
Get your team and peers together. Generate multiple ways to fix the issue. Hear the guys who have hands on experience. Welcome suggestions.

Evaluate each alternate
Make it a point to debate and discuss each possible path to resolution. Debate consequences of each idea.

Choose the best option
Having gone through an elaborate exercise in defining the problem, identifying the parameters to resolve, listing solutions, it’s time to choose the best action plan.

Lay down a plan of action
The above steps are much easy compared to execution of the chosen plan. Lay emphasis on the various aspects that need to be monitored. Identify resources and technology to work on each component of the problem. Evolve a mechanism to follow-up, record and report the outcome.

Have a back-up plan
Often complex problems bypass existing or known solutions. So, you must have a solid plan 2. And make your team aware of the same.

Learn the lessons
If the decisions you took were correct and resolved the problem, great. But, you need to sit together again and identify the process of resolution. How did the team solve it. What were the factors being monitored. Did you correct course midway? Record these in a system for future reference. That’s a lesson learnt in decision making.