Regardless of the decision-making model used, or how competent and conscientious a decision-maker is, making decisions involves risk. Some risks are associated with the individual or group making the decision. Others relate to the information used to make the decision. Still others are related to the way that this information is employed in the decision-making process.
Often, the realization of some risks increases the probability of realizing others; they are deeply intertwined. Fortunately, awareness of these risks and their interplay is often sufficient to mitigate them. To this end, several decision-making perils and predicaments are discussed below.
Given the importance of decision-making in our personal and professional lives, the topic receives shockingly little attention. The potential consequences of low-quality decisions warrant extensive courses to build critical skills, yet few of us ever receive significant instruction in decision-making during formal education, as part of on-the-job training, or from mentors. It is even under the radar of many conscientious autodidacts. The “Making Decisions” series of “The Third Degree” aims to raise the profile of this critical skillset and provide sufficient information to improve readers’ decision-making prowess.
It is helpful, when beginning to study a new topic, to familiarize oneself with some of the unique terminology that will be encountered. This installment of “Making Decisions” will serve as a glossary for reference throughout the series. It also provides a preview of the series content and a directory of published volumes.
Reviewing past installments of “The Third Degree” in preparation for the update post “Hindsight is 20/20; Foresight is 2020,” I realized that there had been a significant oversight. This post is aimed at correcting that oversight and filling the void I’m sure we have all felt.
In “Of Delegating and Dumping,” a compare-and-contrast exploration of the two managerial styles, I referenced “The Dumper’s Creed,” but had not presented it. Until now!
The advent of a new year inspires a great deal of reflection and anticipation. Many of us will evaluate our personal and professional progress over the past 12 months and set new goals for the upcoming year. The same is true for “The Third Degree;” this installment will look back at some posts to provide additional resources related to the topics discussed. It will also look ahead to preview topics to be covered in future posts.
Always on the lookout for useful or clever analogies that facilitate understanding of complex systems or ideas, some discoveries are made with great pleasure and some disappoint. The law of averages demands it.
The jigsaw puzzle is no stranger to analogy-building. One example appeared earlier this year in Plant Services’ “Human Capital” column (“The Jigsaw Puzzle of Reliability,” March 2019). Unfortunately, this is one that left me underwhelmed. Perhaps space limitations precluded full development of the analogy; the author’s forthcoming book may correct this. In any case, this installment of “The Third Degree” is my attempt to redeem the venerable jigsaw puzzle analogy.
As you celebrate the nation’s independence this week, also take time to consider on what and whom your business or career depends. Celebrate the people – employees, coworkers, customers, suppliers, and so on – that help you thrive. If you are dealing with unreasonable demands from customers or suppliers, a toxic work environment, oppressive management, or other spirit-crushing situation, I encourage you to declare your independence!
Free yourself from the unnecessary constraints that others place on you personally or professionally. I am not offering empty platitudes, nor am I suggesting it will always be easy. It can often be difficult; there may be times that the toxicity seems necessary – or at least acceptable – in order to sustain your livelihood. It is in those moments that unreasonable people have the greatest opportunity to take advantage of you. Expelling those people will allow you to focus on developing positive relationships that make your career or business more profitable and more enjoyable.
Though the transformation may be difficult or feel unnatural, the renewed vigor and peace of mind that typically result will be worth every bit of effort expended. If you would like help writing your own declaration or guidance through the transformation, contact JayWink Solutions, an independent consulting and training organization.
Happy Independence Day!
Jody W. Phelps, MSc, PMP®, MBA
JayWink Solutions, LLC
Successful managers are – or need to quickly become – effective delegators. Many managers convince themselves, and sometimes others, that they are effectively delegating by assigning many tasks and giving many orders. Unfortunately, however, this is most often indicative of an antithetical situation. Effective delegation is a skill, like any other, that can be learned, practiced, and honed. To do so, managers must understand the difference between delegating and dumping.
To thoroughly develop this understanding, it is useful to consider the differences between delegating and dumping as they relate to five phases: Assignment, Support, Follow-up (or Progress Check), Feedback, and Recurrence.
For a coherent discussion of culture to take place, it is important to define the term in its intended context. Social psychologist Goodwin Watson referred to ‘culture’ as “the total way of life characteristic of a somewhat homogeneous society of human beings,” differentiating its use in social science from the vernacular “refinement of taste in intellectual and aesthetic realms.”
Watson also quotes anthropologist Ralph Linton’s definition of ‘culture’ as “the configuration of learned behavior whose component elements are shared and transmitted by the members of a particular society.”
Key components of each definition will help us translate the concept of culture from a discussion of at-large society to one of a corporate environment.
Last week’s post offered general advice regarding the work of “experts.” Writing it reminded me of a set of articles that I feel is worthy of some direct attention, as the theme becomes increasingly prevalent. Variations on “How to Read 100 Books a Year,” these articles demonstrate the misconception inherent in many of the “expert” articles of the type discussed. The misconception is that the advice given is universal.
Example articles include:
[Link] “How to Read 100 Books in a Year” – Thrive Global
[Link] “How to Read 100+ Books in One Year” – WikiHow
[Link] "How to Read 100 Books a Year" – Observer
[Link] "How to read 100 books in a year (and still have a life)" – Forrest Brazeal
[Link] "How I Read 100 Books in One Year (and How You Can, Too)" – BookRiot
[Link] "5 Steps To Reading 100 Books A Year – AuthenticGrowth
Innumerable “experts” are now able to share their wisdom widely, at the click of a button, thanks to the expansion of social media and blogging platforms. The ability to publish one’s assertions, however, does not ensure the validity or value of the content. There are few limitations on what one can publish.
Consider an example at the opposite end of this spectrum – peer-reviewed journals. Despite the rigorous review process, authors are occasionally discredited after publication of an article. Falsified data, inappropriate research protocols, or inconsistent conclusions may be discovered.
The journal scenario is a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that there is a third party (journal editor) responsible for maintaining the integrity and quality of published research that will publish a correction. The bad news is that, many times, the correction may not reach those that rely on the original work, trusting its accuracy. Also, reproductions of the article may not include the correction as an update or attachment.
Unfiltered content does not provide even this imperfect safety net. Perhaps one can leave a comment online, disputing an article’s content or conclusions, but where does that lead? Often, nowhere.
Though it is a significant departure from the usual content, the poem below (don’t worry, it’s not a JayWink original!) seemed an appropriate contribution to this blog. It explains, in part, the purpose of “The Third Degree” – my attempt to “build a bridge” or “illuminate a path” for others to benefit from my experience.
That is not meant to suggest that the “bridges” built here will not sway in the wind; it is not my goal to provide “all the answers.” Capturing all possible variables and nuance that one may encounter is an unrealistic expectation. Instead, I strive to inspire relevant questions – the genesis of real learning.
“The Third Degree” is also an expression of gratitude to other “bridge-builders” – those that came before me, easing my “crossings,” those that work alongside me, and those I have yet to encounter. Finally, as does the old man in the poem, I hope to set an example that inspires others to build bridges along their own paths.
Enjoy “The Bridge Builder.”
Preparing for a job interview can be as stressful and time consuming as any exam in college. Like your professors tell you, it’s better to prepare over time instead of “cramming” the night before. While exam preparation may be specific to a course or certification, creating a Development Portfolio will prepare you for interviews throughout your career.
If you'd like to contribute to this blog, please email email@example.com with your suggestions.
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