'No plan survives first contact with the enemy.'
- Helmuth von Moltke the Elder
'Everyone has a plan 'til they get punched in the mouth.'
Each decision is a plan.
The plan will fail.
Someone won't like the way the decision affects them. Everyone will think that they could have done better. The result won't pay the dividends that were expected. Execution will take longer. Cost more.
This is why many (most) organisations lack decision makers - let alone Good Decision Making - because the great majority of decisions don't give the result we intended. We declare ourselves each time we make a decision. We expose our egos to the judgement of others when we inevitably fail.
There are at least six ways that most of us avoid failing:
We avoid making decisions
We make decisions but don't act on them
We 'do' things that aren't decisions but look like it to anyone who matters. Busy-work is an example.
We hold a position of power that masks our inaction behind its routines, rituals, mantras and the issuing of orders.
We blame someone else for the decision.
We declare every decision a success, despite the evidence.
Good decision making is a process that expects failure, prepares for it, and allows us to learn from it. The Five Steps to a good decision is a process that we can retrace and review and identify which element led to the failure.
It's the decision-maker's equivalent of the black box flight data recorder.
The reality is that life is messy and complicated and imperfect and more things go wrong than right and many of the right results are the product of happy coincidence than good planning.
The enemy that waits to ambush our plans isn't out there. It's hiding in plain sight.
In our ego.