Monday, November 12, 2018

Process is the Problem

In most wayward decisions, the culprit is the process.

When decisions go awry, incomplete or outdated process is often to blame.

How do we modernize, deepen, and better our processes for decision making today? What structures can we rely on to make better decisions? What is often missing from good brain-friendly, results oriented decisions?

Introduce the Problem to All Stakeholders
The problem has to be introduced with care and detail to all stakeholders early in the process.

Problem Definition
Once the problem is introduced, there needs to be a period of reviewing the problem and defining it with greater detail including all stakeholders' voices and opinion. Problem definition is one of the most important steps in decision making. What problem are we hoping to solve? Do we understand this problem specifically?

Research Well
Many decisions sidestep good research. Good, current, modern, honest research is critical to making good decisions. Time and talent constraints often obstruct good research when it comes to optimal decision making, and conjecture, hearsay, and incomplete research then takes its place. To make really good decisions, you have to research well.

Research Presentation
Research needs to be welcomed into the process and reviewed with an open mind early in the decision making process. There needs to be a period when the research is questioned and deepened too. Then a final brief or paper needs to be created for all stakeholders to review--a paper that includes the essential research.

Most problem solutions profit from a time of simmer--a time people are given to mull over the problem as well as the research. This simmering supports good decision making.

Decision Path Creation
Once all stakeholders have reviewed the vetted research, then it's time to create a path for decision making. The path has to include the problem as well as the success criteria. The path needs to be vetted by all stakeholders and roles need to be appointed. Throughout the path there needs to be reflection, revision, an refinement stops.

Decision Review
At the end of the path there should be a final decision making process that solves the problem named and meets the success criteria reviewed. Often the decision will start with a pilot or test to see how the decision works in real time.

Too often decisions are made without good process. This happens in government, organizations, businesses, and families. It's critical that we meet decisions with the care, time, and process they deserve. If we don't use good process, time is often wasted and the results much less than desired.

Good process leads to betterment. Good process nurtures strong teams. Good process better satisfies all stakeholders. Good process is evidence of a job well done. We can do better.