Make Creative Decisions
In decision making, it's clearly not a good idea to refer every question you have to a superior or an associate, but certainly there are times when it's best to talk over problems with someone.
Before you do, however, be sure you're not merely seeking support for a decision to which you are already committed.
Instead of talking to someone about a problem, one executive we know writes a letter to a friend he seldom sees and who thus requires a thorough explanation, starting from scratch. "Usually," he says, "by the time I finish writing the letter, I've reached a pretty good decision just by placing the alternatives in order and perspective" Try it yourself.
Many companies have experts in various areas on their staffs, ready and willing to be of help in decision-making. It's up to you to use these people intelligently, rather than to try to figure everything out yourself from scratch.
There are several factors which determine the type of expert available in your company.
1. The kind of business you're in: Generally, a company employs the type of experts who can help it steer clear of operating difficulties. A dress manufacturer, for instance, will have stylists, colour experts, fabric specialists etc production people on the job.
2. The size of the company: A large firm may have executives who are specialists in each phase of operations. Smaller firms often must make do with one person serving in many roles. In either case, the experience and judgment available in your own company may be of greatest.help if you know how to tap it when you have decisions to make.
Most problems have more than one possible solution. Reaching the best decision usually requires knowing and considering the alternatives. This may require considerable resourcefulness and imagination on your part.
Don't be afraid to work with a pencil, jotting down every possibility that comes to mind (or the minds of people you consult). You may lose an intricate idea unless you write it down.
Narrow your area of choice by eliminating fringe possibilities right away. If one alternative is obviously impractical yet valuable because of the insight it offers, see if it can't be incorporated into other, more practical alternatives.
Know when to stop searching for alternatives'. Sometimes one solution is as good as another, and searching for a better one is a waste of effort.
Don't overlook the possibility of combining two or more alternatives to create a third that may incorporate the advantages (but few of the faults) of its antecedents.
Finally, create an alternative through addition. If practical, try several solutions at once. Maybe none of them, alone, would solve the problem, but in combination they can do the job.
A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, and a little less than his share of the credit. - Arnold Glascow