'If you don't deliberate (at least for a little bit), it's not a decision, it's a reflex.'
- BJ Fogg
According to research by global management consultancy Hay Group (brought to my attention by Jonathon), 94 per cent of Human Resource Directors believe that empowering line managers to make people decisions is a top priority.
Agreed. Sort of.
It's easy to assume that 'swift and efficient' equals 'good'.
It's easy to mistake the cries of 'I wish someone around here would just make a decision!' as a call for speed and economy. Swift and efficient.
Decisive decision makers are rarely good decision makers.
They look good because they're swift and efficient.
They make decisions alright. Bang, bang, bang. Faster than their harried assistants can drag a pen or finger to cross off each item in a real or virtual To Do list.
'Is that it?' they say at the end, rising from their chair, casting their eyes around the room, before blowing away the wisp of smoke curling from their gun barrel and re-holstering it. 'Good. Meeting adjourned.'
'He's so decisive!' they whisper to each other as they file out of the room.
Few of them see what happens next. The aftermath of decisions made without reflection, delegation, assessment or fairness. The consequences rear-ending each other and bursting into flames in open plan offices all around the organisation. Good people trying to support and execute on swift and efficient decisions that lack logic or evidence or authority or justice.
HR departments should get in line behind the accountants, lawyers and other advisers and wait their turn to empower line managers' good decision making. In Step 2, and perhaps an encore in Step 3 of the Five Steps to a Good Decision.
If the line manager is a good one, they may have to wait. She will be busy stepping back.