Making better decisions

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Making Board better decisions


Boards always run the risk of making decisions that could backfire on them. Wrong decisions can severely damage the reputation of the organisation and/or affect the long-term sustainability of the organisations. With the speed at which information travels, all leaders live in a glass bowl and therefore mistakes may very well be made in the glaring eye of the public.

As the complexity increases, deeper application of mind is needed to ensure the best possible route is taken. This often means having to choose the lesser of evils. It is therefore important that Boards are able to demonstrate that they can pass the ‘reasonable man’ test in the context of their strategic role. Boards should consider using an instrument, the equivalent of a checklist that forces them to consider all angles when making decisions with significant implications. Some of the areas that should be considered include:

·         Whether it is an informed decision.

·         What will the impact on sustainability be?

·         Which stakeholders may be affected?

·         Which governance principles should be considered?

·         Are there ethical implications that should be considered?

·         Are there issues that could lead to reputational damage?


This of course means that everyone on the Board must apply their minds and not allow a situation where a few dominant voices determine the outcome, or where some give scant attention to the issue on the table and just go with the majority.

Where the stakes are high, the Board may need to consider a facilitated session to help them work through the process. An independent facilitator, who has no vested interest in the outcome of the decision, could help the Board work through all the important questions that should be asked and debated before a conclusion is reached.

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Encouraging empathy in your organisation

The Covid-19 pandemic and related lockdowns around the globe has put a spotlight on the need for empathy. Many have been able to display great empathy, while others have been struggling. I suspect that those organisations that have typically been bottom line driven, would have found it a lot more difficult to deal with the levels of empathy required in dealing with employees who suddenly had to go into a mini diaspora, while dealing with the inevitable bereavement that accompanied the virus as it wreaked havoc.

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