'They that have the power to hurt, and will do none...
...they rightly do inherit heaven's graces.'
- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 94
The Investigation into the loss of separation between Airbus A330 VH-EBO and Airbus A330 VH-EBS near Adelaide SA on 20 September 2013 continues.
It was estimated to finish 'no later than September 2014'.
On 17 November 2014, two months after it was expected to conclude, there was a progress update:
'Completion of the draft investigation report has been delayed due to other investigation priorities, and the draft report is now anticipated for release to directly involved parties (DIPs) for comment in December 2014. Any comments over the 28-day DIP period will be considered for inclusion in the final report, which is anticipated to be released to the public in January 2015.'
'Released to DIPs for comment' and 'any comments...will be considered for inclusion in the final report.'
Step 5 in the Five Steps to a Good Decision: Give a Hearing.
Allow any person who may be adversely affected by the decision the opportunity to consider your reasons for potentially reaching that decision, and to offer an argument why you should come to a different one.
Inviting a person affected by a decision is a powerful tool in good decision making:
- It harnesses the perspective, energy, focus and power of another brain (and heart) to contribute to your thinking (and feeling) while still works in progress and open to change.
- It informs you with the strongest argument against your own thinking - thus testing it - yet without the artificiality of appointing the 'devil's advocate' within your own team.
- It provides a forcing function to counter rote, systemic, thinking.
- It gives you a dress rehearsal of the likely criticisms that may follow your decision.
- It can counter groupthink.
- It reminds you of what is at stake for other people and thus focusses your attention.
- Those invited to contribute are more likely to accept the ultimate decision if it goes against them.
- It buys you time - thus creating more space (a mini- Step 1).
- It meets part of the procedural fairness required by law in many decision making processes.
- It shows transparency and evidence-based decision making.
Despite this impressive list in its favour, many decision makers avoid offering a hearing for fear that they will find out something that may undo all the time and energy invested so far; that it may create an expectation that they will be persuaded to change their minds; and that such an invitation undermines their authority.
A good decision maker acknowledges these fears, (perhaps even taking another Step 1: Step Back to indulge and then purge them) - then reminds herself of the logic of the benefits listed above, drafts the invitation to be heard such that it manages expectations, and reads Shakespeare or the writings of any good leader to understand that real power is demonstrated in the restraint in its exercise.