Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Make Better Business Decisions

Make Better Business Decisions

According to leadership experts Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler, Crucial Conversations are those tough, daytoday interactions in which the stakes are high, people have conflicting views, and emotions run strong. The surprising thing about these conversations is that they often occur when least expected whether in the boardroom or by the water cooler. Mastering them can transform businesses and careers, strengthen teams, increase productivity, and boost the bottom line.

The two riskiest times in crucial conversations tend to be at the beginning and at the end. The beginning is risky because you have to find a way to create safety or else things go awry. The end is dicey because if you aren careful about how you clarify the conclusion and decisions, you can run into violated expectations later on.

When youre considering how to make better business decisions, it helps to have a way of talking about the available options. There are four common ways of making decisions: command, consult, vote, and consensus. These four options represent increasing degrees of involvement. This happens in one of two ways. Either outside forces place demands on us demands that leave us no wiggle room, or we turn decisions over to others and then follow their lead. We dont care enough to be involved let someone else do the work. Voting is a great time saver but should never be used when team members dont agree to support whatever decision is made. means you talk until everyone honestly agrees to one decision. This method can produce tremendous unity and highquality decisions. It should only be used with 1 highstakes and complex issues or 2 issues where everyone absolutely must support the final choice.

When choosing among the four methods of decision making consider the following questions.

1. Who cares? Determine who genuinely wants to be involved in the decision along with those who will be affected. These are your candidates for involvement. Dont involve people who dont care.

2. Who knows? Identify who has the expertise you need to make the best decision. Encourage these people to take part. Try not to involve people who contribute no new information.

3. Its better to involve these people than to surprise them and then suffer their open resistance.

4. How many people is it worth involving? Your goal should be to involve the fewest number of people while still considering the quality of the decision along with the support that people will give it. Ask: Do we have enough people to make a good choice? Will others have to be involved to gain their commitment?

A crucial conversation about your decisionmaking practices can resolve many frustrating issues.

The above is an adapted excerpt from the book Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. The above excerpt is a digitally scanned reproduction of text from print. Although this excerpt has been proofread, occasional errors may appear due to the scanning process. Please refer to the finished book for accuracy. He received the prestigious 2004 BYU Marriott School of Management Dyer Award for outstanding contribution in organizational behavior. He did doctoral work in organizational behavior at Stanford University.

Joseph Grenny is an acclaimed keynote speaker and consultant who has designed and implemented major corporate change initiatives for the past 20 years. He is also a cofounder of Unitus, a nonprofit organization that helps the worlds poor achieve economic selfreliance.

Ron McMillan is a soughtafter speaker and consultant. He cofounded the Covey Leadership Center, where he served as vice president of research and development. He has worked with leaders ranging from firstlevel managers to corporate executives on topics such as leadership and team development.

Al Switzier is a renowned consultant and speaker who has directed training and management initiatives with dozens of Fortune 500 companies worldwide. He is on the faculty of the Executive Development Center at the University of Michigan..

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