Wednesday, 25 November 2009

When things go wrong: Lessons for decision making

When things go wrong, an important area of learning is the decision-making process itself.  With the benefit of hindsight, you can consider how efective your processes for making decisions were.  Consider questions such as:
  • how likely is it that you were influenced by a taken-for-granted frame?
  • do you need to rethink the way you regard risks (i.e. as opportunities or threats)?
  • are there any lessons in terms of the way you regard outcomes (i.e. as gains or losses)?
  • did you identify all the alternatives, or has it become clear that unconsidered alternatives would have been better?  how can you ensure that your future decision-making frames cover these alternatives?
  • what information has come to light that could help to reduce the subjectivity of your probability assessments in futures?
  • how can learning be enshrined in the business and made easily available and usable for future decisions?
  • are downsides and/or upsides in line with expectations? are there any unforeseen dimensions or knock-on effects in the outcome?

For any of these questions to be answered effectively, it's crucial that you have an objective record of your original decision making processes.

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