Here’s a story I haven’t shared before. I’m not sharing it to shame anyone, but to be candid about what happened and reflect on the lessons on decision making.
Over a year ago, we hired a consultant to help us choose a new billing system.
When the new software was finally chosen and implemented after 9 months, there was one problem.
When our team started using it, they realized - to their horror - that the software couldn’t perform a function we absolutely needed (which was pretty much the only reason why we bought it).
By this point, we’d already had multiple departments involved, spent 9 months on the project, and paid over $30K for it.
We contacted our rep to try to resolve the issues we’d experience thus far and wanted to cancel the rest of the contract so we don’t have to pay another $30K+ for a solution we can’t use.
The response we got was basically “sorry that you screwed up, but we’re collecting your $”
There are a few things I learned right away:
We know that we SHOULD think in a logical and quantitative way, but we make decisions based on gut feelings.
No matter how experienced we’re in a field, a gut feeling can be flat wrong sometimes.
A typical decision-making meeting goes like:
In other words, the boss often tells the employee his opinion, instead of a conclusion based on a set of facts or data (spreadsheet, anyone?)
This leads to the second part of my learning: How can you ever be “wrong” when you don’t decide what to do?
If the boss’s decision turns out to be wrong or with a bad outcome (could happen even if a decision was based on available information/data and sounding logics), the employee is excused from any responsibility.
It was the boss’s decision and he bears the consequences:
Furthermore, when a decision is made, do we remember to ask: