Taking the ‘I’ out of Company Decisions

Taking the ‘I’ out of Company Decisions

Decision-making can prove a difficult function to perform, sicne it is usually done without the luxury of sufficient time or information. In the context of Entrepreneur-led firms and Central Executives, they become central to decisions – in some cases all the decisions that have to be made – in an environment that may prove less than forgiving.

It is amazing how many Central Decision-Makers (CDMs) overlook the fact that their personal propensities, predispositions and preferences are reflected in their organisation’s strategy.

For example, if you as CDM are personally technology-averse, or don’t put much value on it, I have seen where it is often the case that this paradigm is reflected in the organisation’s systems and processes. It is easy to understand – if I don’t like it, I am not going to be inclined to look favorably on it or entertain too much opportunities for its involvement. This is not to say that I would be opposing it (although some people do feel that strongly about some issues), but more often the case that I ignore or minimise its role and position in my operating sphere.

This I have found to be particularly the case in entrepreneur-led firms, family-owned businesses or other organisations dominated by a strong personality or group-think. Needless to say, these types of firms account for a large percentage of any private sector economy (here’s some interesting data on this from the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council).

It becomes important for CDMs to realise that the decisions that need to be made for the firm have to be distinct from personal preferences. The governing question should be ‘What is in the best interest of the firm – whether I like the answer or not?’ It needs to be recognised that many CDMs envision an organisation that bears their envisioned form and shape – their personal signature, and that is fine. But when the decisions are going to affect the ability to compete, perform or simply survive, the question needs to be asked. If the decision is aligned to personal preferences, then great. As long as the decision is a conscious one and considers the firm’s requirements, then its being done from an informed and conscious position.

Imposing this lens is generally difficult to do, with a thousand things going on across different functions and at different levels. However, it needs to happen for rational decisions to be made and before scarce – and expensive – resources are committed. This is one of the key reasons such firms and individuals access external input and insight – in a B2B context typically from a management consulting practice, or on a more personal level from coaching and advisory services. It serves as a reminder to us in the industry to keep the perspective. It reminds us at panCaribbean of the first of our 5 commitments to each client – to put client interests ahead of our firm’s interests. It proves beneficial to the client to do the same from a personal angle.

Faheem Mohammed is the Managing Director of Professional Alliance Network (Caribbean) Ltd., where he serves as Lead Consultant for Strategy, Leadership and Technology portfolios. He can be emailed at fmohammed@pancaribbean.org

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