Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Get your important messages heard by decision makers

In this week's reading of Seven Ways to Fail Big Carroll and Mui looked at some serious crashes due to strategic misunderstandings. Several of these cases revealed that the information for better decision making was in the organization, in the hands of the workers but not in the hands and minds of the decision makers. Knowing that many of us will soon be going on to recommend serious strategic decisions for our organizations it is important for us to understand how to bring out these recommendations and have them seriously considered by decision makers. This is a systemic problem, branching out from public to private and from corporate to military - every academic organization has something to offer in regards to changing this problem.

1. Find the decision maker: this might seem like an obvious point however it might not always be the case. Often our decision makers are not actually our bosses or even the person with the decision making power. Some variety of external powers and other decision makers often work to place pressure on organizational heads to make certain decisions. Even this guide for Sales and Marketing hunts for your decision maker to buy their products, full guide here. Understanding the playing field - who talks to who - is extremely powerful for getting your important point about the company's strategy heard. This also leads to the next point.

2. Understand your decision maker(s): you may have only one boss but that person also has a boss and often the head of an organization is no longer just one person. Culture has shifted to support group decision making because "The group as a polarizer of attitudes" reveals the tremendous benefit of shared knowledge and shared perspectives on valuation. Knowing what these deicision makers value and what they imagine the future strategy of the organization to look like (and if you can manage it, WHY) is essential for you to not trip over your own statement or waste time preaching to the proverbial choir when you want to get your idea heard.

3. Be explicit: good ideas have both a beginning and an end. Use both the data and the conclusion to sell your point. Open Decision Making is a best practice which requires intelligent ideas from their base and at the integrity of the information, research and data which a decision is based around. You'll also have to be able to tell the story of this idea and explain what the future looks like if this choice or the baseline are accepted for the future of the organization.

These are my own three tips for getting these points across to decision makers.

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