The country singer George Jones has some lines in one of his songs that state that we are a product of the choices that we have made in our life. Just as individuals must make choices about their lives, so too must businesses make decisions about the operation of their enterprises.
Each day business owners make a lot of decisions, even not making a decision is a choice. Patrick Morley, a noted author, business leader, and speaker, presently serves as president of Man in the Mirror, a nonprofit organization based in Florida that helps men find meaning and purpose in life. In Morley’s book, The Man in the Mirror, he has suggested some tips for making better decisions.
- Don’t solve the wrong problem.
- Choose with care from decisions given by others.
- Balance the pros and cons of the choices.
- Define the problem.
- Define the goal or objective to be achieved.
- Develop a range of alternative solutions.
- Develop a contingency plan.
- Know the consequences and the trade-offs of each alternative.
- Listen better.
Morley suggests that decisions tend to fall into two types. The first type of decision is called a priority decision, and the second type is called a moral decision. The priority decisions are choices between right and right. These decisions involve the allocation of resources.
The moral decisions are choices between right and wrong. These decisions involve questions of integrity. Making a wrong choice on a moral decision may have some unpleasant consequences. Making a poor decision on a priority of choices may only lead to an inefficient allocation of resources. Peter Drucker writes that executives spend more time on managing people and making people decisions than on anything else–and they should. No other decisions are so long lasting in their consequences. According to Drucker, one-third of such decisions turn out right, one-third are minimally effective, and one-third are failures. With those statistics in mind, managers may want to spend more time on decisions that they make related to their human resources issues.
Decisions related to human resources issues are important to the life of a business. Bernadette Mihalic is an executive and organizational coach specializing in emotional intelligence and communications. In an article that appeared in Small Business Network Online, Mihalic offers some advice on things to keep in mind when dealing with employees.
- Employees want to feel valued.
- Tune into employees–ask them questions about how they like their job or about the way they are treated.
- Employees want to be respected.
- Employee-centered management involves ongoing discussions focused on the individual worth and the values of the employees.
Every decision has consequences…every decision is a financial decision…thus, a financial consequence flows from every decision. As employees feel they are valued and respected, they not only become contributing members of the business family, but the consequences from human resource-related choices become positive flows for the entity.
In order to facilitate a paradigm for better decision making, Patrick Morley offers the following outline for an improved choice selection process.
- Know the purpose you wish to achieve.
- Prioritize the use of resources to achieve the desired objectives.
- Plan the actions that you will take to best utilize the resources.
- Know where you are going and how you are going to get there from here.
- Remember that little things done in a single direction over time lead to our final destination.
According to The American Heritage College Dictionary, time is defined as the non-spatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future. As George Jones’ song indicates, a lifetime of choices leads us to where we are today. Businesses face similar life cycles where the succession of their irreversible decisions lead to outcomes that either grow the businesses or leave the businesses at a point of failure. Given that the time spent with employees is a great factor in the success of those relationships, managers should make those encounters worthwhile.
In the final stages of the business cycle, it will be the relationships that allow the business to succeed. By using their interactions wisely, influencing each other for good, and making the right decisions (efficiently) to perform the right jobs (effectively), the business will have properly allocated resources for a situation where all participants are winners.
(Source: Donald Rhodes, SBDC Macon Office)