What do we mean by “Objective Decision Making”?
Before we get into that, let’s understand what do we mean by “Objective”. What is our understanding of this word “Objective”? Many people immediately relate this word to “Goal-setting”. We are not talking of that “Objective” here. We are talking of the “Objective” which means “not being influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts” (courtesy: online dictionary).
To understand this word even better, let’s look at the word which is opposite of “Objective” which is “Subjective”.
In school, we have these “Objective” and “Subjective” type questions.
Supposing I ask each one of you a simple question like “How did you find the recent Shahrukh Khan movie, “Jab Harry met Sejal?”, I might get as diverse answers as the no. of people who respond to this question. This is a subjective answer.
Supposing I ask each one of you another question like “Who is the current Prime Minister of India?”, I am sure all of you will give me the same answer. This is an objective answer.
Now, let’s understand what do we mean by “Objective Decision Making”.
Any decision taken by any employee in the organization has to be objective which essentially means, in a given situation, a person operating out of the head office and a person operating out of a remote branch in Rajasthan should be arriving at the same or similar decision. That is objective decision making.
But, how do we achieve such an unrealistic ideal? It appears to be virtually impossible.
Well, it is possible.
All we need to do is to approach decision making process in the following manner:
- Develop the sensitivity to look at the challenge with an open mind without any preconceived ideas – many a time, we are unable to look at the challenge as it is because of our past conditioning. Our mind has been conditioned by several factors – our family background, our upbringing, the kind of schools, colleges we attended, the kind of work experiences we had and so on. At a deeper level, our belief system – religious, racial, regional and so on may also be preventing us from looking at the challenge as it is. Whenever we are confronted by a challenge, our mind has a tendency to refer back to a similar situation in our past experiences and apply that solution which worked well in that situation. But the point is that, though this situation may appear to be similar, it may not be the same. So, a solution which worked well in a particular situation in the past need not necessarily work well in another situation in the present. So, the first step is to develop the sensitivity to look at the challenge as it is by shedding all our past conditioning.
- Develop the creativity to come up with multiple solutions to the challenge – many a time, we are unable to come up with creative solutions as our mind is so tuned to think logically. Our educational system predominantly develops our left brain which is logical and sequential. Our right brain which is intuitive and creative remains underutilised in many of us. To unlock the potential of our right brain, we need to do a lot of visualization exercises and brainstorming exercises. Once we start doing these, we’ll be able to come up with numerous solutions to the challenge.
- Internalize the mission, vision and core principles to stay connected and choose the right solution – many a time, we are unable to choose same or similar solutions because of the diverse backgrounds from which all of us have come from. To unify our collective consciousness, we have developed our mission, vision and core principles which are like lighthouses for ships sailing in the sea. They provide us our sense of direction, our internal compass, to choose the right solution to a given challenge. I’ll elaborate more about mission, vision and core principles when I come to that point.
- Develop the strength to implement the right solution – Today morning, I received a quote of Mahatria from a friend which said, “Our true challenge is not we do not know but we do not do what we know”. After selecting the right solution, it is important that we implement that solution. And this requires a whole range of skills which include technical skills, influencing skills, prioritizing skills, reviewing skills and so on. And that’s how we take objective decisions.