Consequences Blog #61 #betterdecisions

Each new year I consider if there is a theme for the Consequences Blogs and if nothing else it offers my writing a form of discipline. In some respect I consider the Consequences Blog itself as a discipline in gathering my thoughts. As archived on www.dr-jmt.com over the past five years the Consequences Blogs have proven to be a helpful tool to assist me in ordering my thoughts – hopefully they have also provided some interest for those browsing. In desiring discipline, I also find myself preferring to operate in a less structured way – hence how does a story line for Consequences Blog #61 flows. 

I begin by asking the question what could Harry and Meghans’ recent anti tradition approach; civil servants not relying on science or budgets for polices; or companies finding ways to do good while doing good all have in common?  The commonality is decision making and this will be the theme for 2020 – #decisionmaking – or more importantly #betterdecisions.   

To clarify what I mean by the phrase ‘better decision making’ I consider it’s sentiments at the macro level of leaving no one behind. This means that every decision that is made works towards ensuring how the decision leads to doing no harm – by being ‘the best ancestors we can be’. #betterdecision is not a decision that is just for me it is one that benefits the whole – we.

In considering the decisions that can uphold such a revolution I encourage transformative thinking that goes beyond the individual, the nation but to the whole.

I start with the recent Royal contested decision by Harry and Meghan. With the request to step out of the limelight and shift away from royal duties the decision made by Harry and Meghan has been heavily criticised. (The reason for adding this into this blog is not to debate whether their decision is right or wrong). As outlined by a blogger (Greg Hogban) the commitment to support Harry in all his life decisions, can be taken right back to the little boy walking behind his mother’s coffin and a nations collective commitment to keep him from harm. I would like to further deconstruct #betterdecisions by way of their cause and effect particularly when set in breaking with tradition.

Those in the transformation space refer to breaking traditions as being cognisant of the 1st and 2nd effects (ripple or unknown effect). For example, making decisions to stop coal mining there is not only a 1st effect on the changes to the environment but there is a second ( and possibly multiple) impact upon  small businesses that had set up their business in the locations to serve those working in the mines. Once a community is no longer working in an area quite often the service provisions are also no longer required. In considering the Harry and Meghan decision to shift from tradition the #betterdecision is more about how the effects of this decision is being managed (or not). None of these references to cause and effect are encouraging to not make decisions that break with tradition. What is important to note, is that making decisions using traditional methods may simply no longer be fit for purpose.

In considering how the same situation could play out at a national level it is important to consider what #betterdecisions or kind of civil servant #betterdecisions that are required to transform #betterdecisions in the process of policy making. The following six scenarios have been suggested as important shifts to be made away from traditional decision making:

  • horizon scanning – consider options at the global level
  • consider all the options – work with external experts and broaden scope of scenarios
  • collate evidence properly – carrying out reviews of all relevant available evidence on a topic
  • evaluate evidence quality – scientific evidence isn’t necessarily more valuable than other forms such as experience
  • use experts properly – seek diverse set of independent estimates
  • adopt effective decision making techniques- transparent decision making 

All of these scenarios are also relevant to business particularly in the 21st century and Fourth Revolution. The Fourth Revolution with its mandate of money being a means and not an objective continues to nudge the #betterdecision agenda to do good while doing good. The doing good attributes of successful companies was a clear call to action in a recent article written by the World Forum reflecting the first DAVOS for this decade. Most importantly these sentiments are not new. Jim Collins recognized the requirement to ‘do good’ by way of his addition to his management writings. Collins added clarity to the point that the dominant default business thinking model (I add the concept of ADWAG) is not the answer. 

#betterdecisions will only be possible if the decisions being made do not fall into the trap of the dominant default models. I often refer to ADWAG and more to the point needing to prevent ADWAG – i.e. always doing what always got – time for different approaches that STRADDLE the decisions that need to be made. 

In using the examples in this Blog from the tensions of two individuals in the lime light being challenged for endeavoring to make decisions against tradition as deep rooted as the monarchy (again not implying I agree or disagree with their decisions content); to behavior of civil servants and the need for decisions to be based with a mix of evidence and practice wisdom) and finally the Fourth Revolution and the framing it offers to ensure all aspects of the decision making behaviour are considered. In one way the commonality of these #betterdecisions is in encouraging decisions to ensure they are fit for purpose and not to shy away from the difficult.

It is the tension of the difficult (or at times chaotic) that the all-important changes can be made. Although a play on a recent Guardian article where they proposed the two words ‘Meghan Markle’ as a verb phrase i.e. – doing a Megan Markle aka choosing to not do something.

I invite us all to ensure there are many more Meghan Markle #betterdecisions that challenge the norm and most importantly are #betterdecisions that do no harm to people and the planet.

References

Colins, J (2006) Good to Great and the Social Sectors Random House Business Books United Kingdom

Consequences –Dr Jayne Meyer Tucker, Activist and Author helps humans and organisations make #betterdecisions during uncertainty. Drawing on her global experiences in social transformation and her PhD research exploring the systemic tension between structure (governance) and spontaneity (leadership), Jayne has created the Balance Point – a transformative philosophy to make #betterdecisions within a framework to STRADDLE uncertainty with decision making traits that make #betterdecisions the E.A.S.Y Way. Jayne has worked in Executive Board/CEO and consultancy roles with a number of NGO’s, corporates’ and government agencies in Australia and internationally. 

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