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Decisions, Decisions, Decisions…

October 27, 2009

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about decision making.  We have several major decisions that are on the horizon for Saline Area Schools.  In this month’s Harvard Business Review, Mr. Thomas Davenport notes that important decisions are often made without enough thought and support, with all-too often negative results. Smart organizations, he says, improve their decision-making by taking the following steps:

• Analyzing each decision in terms of who plays a role in making it, how often has to be made, what information is needed to make it, and the track record with decisions like this in the past.

• Designing the roles, processes, systems, and behaviors needed to make the decisions well and execute them after they’re made. Inclusiveness is a key factor in decision design.

• Identifying key decisions and ranking them in priority order, asking how important they are to achieving the mission and goals of the organization.

• Thinking through and institutionalizing processes to decide how to decide: which decisions should be made unilaterally by the supervisor, made by the supervisor after consulting with a group, made by a group by majority vote, or arrived at by group consensus. In addition, there should be procedures for deciding who needs to be consulted or informed and who will be accountable for results.

• Decisions need to be assessed after the fact – what were the results, and how well did the process work?

Over the next several months, it will be important to stay informed about the processes we will use to address serious financial and instructional decisions facing Saline Area Schools.

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