If we are not careful, we can quickly find ourselves in a reactive space when it comes to decision-making. We find ourselves influenced predominantly by the key behaviour disruptors, these elements that lead us to react instinctively with unconscious bias rather than respond considerately and with awareness.
It's fairly well accepted that one of the key elements to good governance is the quality of the decisions we make.
Make poor decisions and whether we are 'steering' our organisations or 'steering' ourselves, we will probably not end up where we intended or hoped for; our outcome will be questionable.
My model suggests that the elements that make up decision making are:
Information Flow, and
Quality of the Decision-maker
The beauty of my model [even if I say so myself :) ] is that the design makes possible other interactions, and this is critical. Why? Well, because governance is a fluid, dynamic and iterative journey.
It's not a destination
It's not an outcome
It's a practice, a practice of looking inwardly within our organisations and within ourselves, reflecting and then using that developed wisdom to enhance our responses to the choices that befall us.
The thing is with decision-making is that there is this direct connection with the elements of culture. We cannot disconnect our decision-making from these cultural influences.
The quality of the decisions we make are also influenced by:
as well as how we respond (or more commonly, react) to our behaviour disruptors.
The key behaviour disruptors, these elements that lead us to react instinctively with unconscious bias rather than respond considerately and with awareness, are:
The work and research of Brene Brown has thankfully brought this important connection to the mainstream and directly into the corporate sector.
In her book, Dare to Lead, she draws upon her research and demonstrates clearly the impact that these four disruptors, but predominantly 'shame', have on our decision-making, our actions and therefore our governance. When talking to a room full of financial services professionals in the City of London, she noted,
“There’s probably not a single act at work that requires more vulnerability than holding people responsible for ethics and values, especially when you’re alone with it or there’s a lot of money, power or influence at stake.
“People will put you down, question your intentions, hate you, and sometimes try to discredit you in the process of protecting themselves.
So if you don’t do vulnerability and/or you have a culture that thinks vulnerability is weakness, then it’s no wonder that ethical decision making is a problem”
When we are reflecting and assessing the quality of our decision-making, we need to ensure that we consider the traditional factors, those of information quality and flow,
But, in this process,
We also need to do the 'hard work' of digging deep into our vulnerability and make sure we consider,
our experiences, and
and how these shape how we feel about ourselves and how this in turn influences our course of decision-making and how we treat others through our leadership.