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.

More to explore

The voices behind our beliefs

We are often quite unaware of how our belief systems are influenced by various external factors, and how those beliefs may impact on our decisions and actions. Not interrogating information that we are being fed on a daily basis could quite easily lead to a skewed view of reality, which may lead to inappropriate decisions or actions. Reflecting on how we have come to our conclusions should be standard practice for leaders.

The Whistle Blower’s Achilles Heel

The journey of a whistle blower is never an easy one. Many who make the noble decision to blow the whistle, do not fully recover once they have walked through the battle ground. Landing on your feet should be a goal every whistle blower aims for as an ultimate end state. Following a set of principles may help the individual find their way to that desired end state.

The true depth of accountability

Accountability has for the longest of times been touted as one of the key pillars of governance, for very good reasons. Can one talk about governance without accountability? Especially when you consider the fact that we are living in a world where complexity is not only the order of the day, but the degree of complexity is also constantly increasing?

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