Decision making in real time

Many years ago, I was working as a personnel manager for a company that introduced us to the concept of ‘four quadrant leadership’. I was so impressed with this very simple process, that it became something I taught to the hundreds of teams I worked with for over 30 years. At the business level of decision making, this simple formula is invaluable.

Q1: simply means that I DECIDE – me the boss; the decision is not up for negotiation, it is quite simply MY decision
Q2: means that you and I can discuss, but I still reserve the right, as your manager to make the final decision
Q3: means that you and I can discuss and I’m happy for YOU to make that decision
Q4: means that you make that decision – you don’t need my input,

What was always interesting when working with a group of managers all at the same level of an organisation was when I asked them to put just one thing by each category which reflected their decision making rationale.

When we then broadened out into discussion and compared who had put what, where, people would be amazed that something one manager felt was a Q3 decision, others had put into the Q2 category or even the Q1 area.

Q1 decisions are traditionally any financial decisions
Q2 decisions could be along the lines of someone wishing to take extended leave at a crucial time in a project, it could be around trialling something like flexi hours or purchasing expensive equipment
Q3: decisions could be around an idea someone has that the manager is willing to let them trial; it could be around taking a key client out for lunch or attending a training workshop
Q4: decisions are more around operational issues, like work flow and team input, who does what and by when

In fact, the ONLY decisions that must be in Q1 are decisions around the law; things like the Holiday Pay Act; Health and Safety legislation, things that are actually out of the control of leaders and managers. Everything else in a business can actually be delegated as and when people are trained and coached into taking over making those decisions at the higher ’Q’ levels.

The whole world witnessed a couple of massive mistakes in 2017.

Theresa May and the Brexit vote. Mrs May announced a surprise call for an election when she already held a massive majority in the UK parliament. Her rationale was that she wanted to strengthen her stand in Brexit negotiations.

I’m sure she fully expected that people would want to remain in the EU but by a slim majority the ‘leave’ voters won the day. Panic ensued across Britain, across Europe and probably across the world. Share markets crashed as people moved into safer financial havens and the British pound experienced the biggest single day fall since the second world war.

One and a half years on it doesn’t appear that much has improved. According to Timothy Garten Ash writing for The Guardian, he surmised that ‘the Brits can’t agree what they want’ he goes on to say that ‘it’s painful to see Britain in such a shambolic mess.’

Britain has seen many upheavals over the last few hundred years I’m sure it will survive – whether Theresa May will survive her decision is another matter.

James Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email saga. In an article in The Washington Post, Aaron Blake labelled Comey’s decision to disclose that the FBI was reviewing more Hillary Clinton’s e.mails, ‘unavoidably horrible’. Coming just 11 days before the American presidential election, this announcement by Comey has been blamed by many people, including Clinton herself, for her narrow loss to Donald Trump.

The ramifications of both these decisions will reverberate for many years, if not for generations, both internally to each country, but globally as well. It will take several years for Britain to uncouple from the EU with all the confusion that goes along with the negotiations; and having Donald Trump as POTUS is already causing massive disruption across the globe in ways no-one could have predicted.

Did the Electoral College make a massive mistake in 2017 when they overturned the popular vote in favour of Hillary becoming POTUS and instead unleashed Donald Trump on the world?

‘Sometimes in order to follow our moral compass and/or our hearts, we have to make unpopular decisions or stand up for what we believe in.’
– Tabatha Coffey

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