After having every day of the past week filled with news created by the ‘Brexit’ vote in the UK, I can’t resist the inclination to just get curious and wonder what’s the learning in this for me … for us in our work and business. With the resulting turmoil that has so many questioning the wisdom of their vote and concerned about what it will really mean, it is evident that some made purely emotion-based decisions whereas others only considered this from what appealed to their sense of logic and reasoning. The outcome is a country dealing and reeling from unintended consequences … uncertainty, fear and questions around ‘what now’?
Definitely it doesn’t have to be like this. In our jobs and being part of a team, department or management, we are often involved in decision making. And too often they are made from considering just one perspective … either the logical/reasoned one or the emotional one. Here are scenarios that you might recognize as a part of your own experience when this takes place.
The ivory tower occupants have made a decision about a new program for customers that will reduce the company’s waste and thus reduce costs while increasing profitability.
Your best and largest customers want to do business with your company however they just didn’t want to drive to your current locations. They let it be known that if you want their business you need to open a location that was more convenient to where they live. As these were the ‘best’ customers management began an expansion program that opened 3 new locations within a year to suit their largest patrons. One year later, after responding in this way to the emotional input, the company was out of business.
Have you been involved in such situations? Too often, when this is allowed, we are forced to scramble to make needed changes in an attempt to return to smooth waters. Here is a suggested approach to minimize the need to respond to unintended consequences:
- Bring people together who are familiar and work with any who will be impacted by the changes being proposed.
- Each person is charged with the responsibility to present any and all perspectives that recipients of the change might possess … as if standing in their shoes.
- Make alterations to the plan that will recognize and respect the variances rather than silence them and pretend they don’t exist.
- Delay a final ‘vote’ until your ‘Monday morning’ (i.e. tomorrow) to allow all involved to digest the input and select the path forward based on having incorporated all critical perspectives into their personal decision.
Of course business is not like running a government trying to sell constituents on one choice or another. Rather it consists of making impacting decisions that will affect the ultimate success of an organization. Placing value on the consideration of all perspectives prior to making any decision enhances the degree of success that can be derived.
Brexit has created a messy situation that appears to be potentially costly in many ways. Perhaps a country thinks it can afford that. Few businesses can nor is it necessary if we call forth … insist on … all the voices as needed for the right decision.