How we decide is critical to organizational functioning. While we make choices daily, many of these decisions are unconscious. Even when we believe that we are being objective analytical about a problem, our deliberations are influenced by personal biases and cultural factors that shape our decision making environment.
For organizations, decision making environments are influenced by both the process and political culture. Strongly process-based cultures can fundamentally influence the decision making environment and make the decision process more effective and more—although never completely—rational. Strongly political environments are rarely consistent in their decision making approach or in the effectiveness of their decisions. Making effective decisions requires understanding the organizational influences that are present, and how these shape how choices are perceived.
Individuals are also able to work within and across the organization. Those individuals who have the ability to work within the political environment are able to compensate for organizational inadequacies in improving decision outcomes. Developing decision making influence is a product of understanding both our individual capabilities and the organizational culture in which we work.
A recent decision making workshop highlighted the challenge of how biases influence decision choices. The executive team was asked to write down the last three numbers of their social insurance number; then they were asked to estimate how many days a specific project would take to complete. The average estimate of those executives with a high social insurance number was nearly double that of those with a lower one. Anchor the mind with one number, and you influence the next one, no matter how unrelated it is.
Interthink Consulting has developed a comprehensive series of workshops to enhance the decision making process employed by organizations, teams and individuals. Drawing on breakthrough leading-edge research, our Decision Effectiveness Workshop provides the context necessary to make better decisions. Executive and management teams collectively gain a better understanding of how to collaborate and interact in supporting a more effective decision making process. Individuals gain the insights required to support improving their own decision making effectiveness, as well as supporting and facilitating improved decisions within their organizations. The result is greater objectivity, insight and awareness of the decision making process. Participants learn how to identify, present and discuss those factors most relevant to decisions, and how to perceive and evaluate information that is being presented. The outcome is better decision support, and improved decision results.