A phrase I saw displayed in poster format in a Toronto firm’s conference room sparked some thought.  It said “The road of life is paved with flat squirrels that couldn’t make a decision”. We have all seen the poor squirrel confronted on the busy roadway facing big decisions with sometimes fatal results. Perhaps we share the same dilemma in business?

The prominence of this poster was there to prompt action from staff to be decisive and develop better habits towards change management. It seemed that putting off decisions, tactics or strategic changes had been problematic in the past. The typical reasons used to delay decisions include, poor or little information, too much information, lack of courage with high-impact change, and finally, well-practiced staff complacency.

Why does indecision exist and sometimes persist? Is there a good time to put off decisions? In my experience all projects involve decisions. Any change or implementation plan to improve requires timely decisions, based on the best information at hand. We all can suffer from indecision from time to time. The real issue here is getting good quality information, presented in a clear and concise way so decisions can be made and business can move forward!

I remember several years ago when faced with completely changing our company’s supply chain, something that had a large national sales impact, a mentor gave me some quick points to use to ensure quick but informed decisions. It went like this:

O – Write the opportunity or objective down in a concise form in a short paragraph

S – Determine and state the current status of the situation

I – Determine and state the issues that need to be navigated

R – Develop a clear recommendation

If you or your staff can’t write a concise statement on one page using those 4 points then you don’t have a well thought out solution or decision to consider. Pretty simple! Once you have mastered this technique the decisions start to move faster and with better results. If you want more coaching on this technique please drop me a line.

David Rankin

Operations & Project Management