Decision is just what it means. You look at your options and you select the one that you believe is the best one. A simple step, but it’s surprising how hard this can be for some people and organizations. In fact in some organizations executives never take a decision! Instead they just issue guidance and let the masses sort it out for themselves. The benefit of the non-decision is the non-accountability that it implies; a sort of no fault policy: ‘I never made a decision so I can’t be blamed for anything’.
However, in most organizations a decision has to be made once the output from the Orientate stage has been created. And each organization will have its own method of reaching that decision. So the first thing is to know how your organization and your opponents make their minds up. In Toyota they seek to establish a consensus on major decisions. That can be time consuming, but in some business situations it can, in the long term, be quicker because everyone supports the decision and will act in unison to implement it. In other organizations decisions are taken quickly, almost hastily, because they believe speed is of the essence. But then the foot dragging by those opposed to the decision occurs and the time saved by making a quick choice is lost in the subsequent debates over the implications of the decision. So know the decision processes that you and your opponent will have to follow.
A word of caution, remember that sometimes the best decision might be to take no action. We have, certainly in the West, a natural pre-disposition, almost part of our genetic heritage, towards action: ‘We need to do something? What can we do? Why aren’t they doing something?” common questions about issues that we hear all too frequently. But we also have sayings such as: “Do no harm!’ If it’s not broke then don’t fix it!” So if the analysis says ‘take no action’ then that is a valid outcome. Letting your opponent make the wrong decision is just as potent a move as you taking the right decision.
The key concept to grasp is that a considered decision to do nothing is not the same as not taking a decision, although the apparent outcome maybe the same.