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To Make Decisions? Or To Make None? (The Science of Decision Making)

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Decision making is the core of management. It’s what managers strive to do best (or try to avoid). However, not only managers are faced with the challenges of determining what is right and what is wrong; we make up our minds and subconsciously make decisions all the time, starting from picking which toothpaste to purchase at the drugstore to choosing an item from a menu, where to go on the next holiday, or even selecting a prospective career.

And since we are primarily judged based on the consequences of our decisions, we try to make smart choices to ensure safe and desirable results that will meet our ambitions and hopefully eliminate all traces of possible doubt.

Now, although decision making is typically described as choosing among alternatives, that view is too simplistic.

Why?

Because it’s an entire process and not as easy as counting to one, two, three, as we might think.

Even for something as straightforward as deciding on what to eat from a restaurant, we do more than merely choose the type of food. Granted, we don’t always spend a lot of time contemplating whether to have chicken or beef for lunch, but we still go through the entire process when faced with options.

So, what exactly is this decision-making, and how do we implement it to get the best out of everything in our daily lives? I thought you’d never ask.

Basically, the process consists of seven steps that are as relevant to personal decisions as they are to corporate decisions. Let’s use the lunch example to illustrate the steps in the process.

Step 1: Identifying a Problem

Every decision starts with a problem, an obstacle that makes achieving a desired goal difficult.

Ahmed is an employee working for an advertising company. At 11:30 PM, his lunch break, which lasts for exactly 40 minutes, starts and he’s left with trying to decide what and where to eat, keeping in mind that he’s feeling very hungry and won’t get out of work earlier than 6 pm that day. Therefore, he definitely needs something to give him enough energy and keep him full for quite some time. Ahmed has a decision to make.

In the real world, most problems do not come with neon signs flashing “problem”. So, it’s quite a challenge to subjectively spot trouble, especially that what one manager or person considers a problem might not be considered a problem by another. In addition, a manager who resolves the wrong problem perfectly is just as bad as a manager who does not even recognize a problem and does nothing.

Step 2: Identifying Decision Criteria

Once we’ve identified a problem, we must identify the decision criteria which define what’s important or relevant in resolving the problem.

In our example, Ahmed decided after careful consideration that ordering a meal that’s healthy, doesn’t take long to serve, satisfying, and within his budget are the relevant criteria in his decision.

Step 3: Allocating Weights to the Criteria

If the relevant criteria are not equally important, the decision-maker must weigh or rate the items to give them the correct priority in the decision. A simple way is to rate them on a scale of 1 to 10, or numbering them from most to least important.

According to Ahmed’s needs and situation, he listed his criteria in this exact order:

  • Doesn’t take long to serve.
  • Healthy
  • Satisfying/filling
  • Within his budget

Step 4: Developing Alternatives

The fourth step in the decision-making process requires the decision-maker to list the alternatives that could work to solve the problem and reach his goal. This is the step where a decision-maker needs to be creative.

Ahmed identifies the following as possible choices:

  • Pasta
  • Granola Bar
  • Chicken Caesar Salad
  • Tuna Sandwich
  • Tomato Soup

Step 5: Selecting an Alternative

Once the alternatives are clear, the next step is choosing the one best alternative out of all.

In our example, Ahmed would choose the Chicken Caesar Salad because it meets his wanted criteria, and it’s what he thinks is the most suitable one.

Step 6: Implementing the Alternative

In step 6, we put the decision into action by communicating it to those affected and getting their commitment to it.

In Ahmed’s case, implementing the alternative would be to go to a particular restaurant, order the salad, and pay for it.

Note that choosing to pay cash or with a credit card is another decision that Ahmed will have to make and will require him to consider the process from the beginning to be able to make up his mind. Of course, as previously mentioned, the decision-making process won’t take him more than a few seconds to go through, but nevertheless, he will still use it.

Step 7: Evaluating Decision Effectiveness

The last step involves evaluating the outcome of the decision to see if the problem was solved.

Was the meal delicious and hearty? Was Ahmed able to consume it within the 40 minutes of his break, or did it cause him to be late going back to work? Was he still hungry even after finishing it?

If the evaluation shows that the problem still exists, then the decision-maker will need to assess what went wrong, and to distinguish the errors and analyze them. The answers might lead to redoing an earlier step or might require starting the whole process over to reach the wanted target.

Now after you became familiar with how the decision-making process works, you’re just as ready as Ahmed (or maybe more) to rationally and confidently make decisions like a true manager. Just remember not to overlook any biases or errors, and to subjectively and patiently look at the problem at hand, and you should be good to go.

Happy decision-making!

By: Menna Mahdy

Reference: Pearson – Management (Arab World Edition)

Photography: Mohamed Sherif El Dib

Instagram: @mohamedeldib

EDITOR: Sarah Shalaby

Articles

Being a Certified L&D Manager – Middle Earth HR

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Written By: Mahmoud Mansi

Learning and Development (L&D) as a function and a department, has become a leading role in the development, sustainability and product competitive advantage of any organization.

Learning and development is not the main purpose anymore, yet it has become more about “continuous learning and development”. The Certified Learning and Development Manager Certification Program (CLDM) offered by Middle Earth HR (MEHR) provides efficiency, vision, direction and sustainability to L&D Leaders by focusing on “competency mapping” which directly impacts corporate development, business sustainability and the product innovation.

The course focuses entirely on “competency mapping” and what follows for several reasons, and this is done through MEHR-CAMI CLDM Model. Based on the model, competency mapping is the heart of learning and development with four layers dependent on the core of the model which are simultaneously: competency assessment, developmental planning and design, developmental evaluation, and the management buy-in.

The 5 sequential areas of knowledge of the MEHR-CAMI CLDM Model empowers L&D leaders to focus on what matters, firstly by being able to review job descriptions, define the competencies of each job, creating a job element for each role with threshold and differentiating skills and knowledge.

MEHR instructors are originally consultants in the field who have lots of case studies, stories and examples to tell, in addition to excellent attention to each delegate and their sense of humor which makes the course engaging and fun.

Unlike most certifications in the industry, the final assessment is not based on exam, instead a comprehensive project about Learning & Development as the entire program consists of a 40-hour learning process with 16 hours of workshop and 24 hours of guided project. The project is a reflection on the delegate’s action plan in the organization he/she already works at. After the submission of the project and delegate receives a full feedback report on the project, the certification, and is ready to plug-in and apply in his/her organization.

Who is recommended to attend the CLDM Certification Program?

  • Learning and Development or Training Manager
  • HR Business Partner
  • Human Capital Consultant
  • HR Director
  • Trainer / Learning Consultant

To know more details about the CLDM certification please visit the following link:
https://www.middleearthhr.com/learning_and_development_manager.html

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Building an Agile Culture: The only way Forward

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Written By: Hanane Benkhallouk

The coronavirus has already rewritten the future of business. With the spread of the pandemic not slowing down any time soon, business leaders find themselves scrambling to find solutions to a host of problems, from bottlenecks in the supply chain to miscommunication between departments.

The outbreak of the coronavirus demands that business owners respond quickly to the growing number of challenges by using the latest technologies and out of the box strategies for sustainable business operations. Keeping that in mind, here are some useful tips for businesses that are building an agile culture to adapt to the new normal in business.

Design Data for Informational Hierarchy

Information is an important component of any business process. Since employees are no longer operating in-house, the chances of miscommunication are two-fold. To avoid that, business leaders need to design information based on informational hierarchy and the channels that are going to be used. This will result in better clarity and a higher level of transparency.

As a business leader, you need to be aware of the information that is being sent to various subgroups within an organization and how they will process that information. This is crucial when it comes to getting a solution that’s beneficial for all parties involved. Efficient business leaders are those who are able to deliver the right information by utilizing the right set of tools at the right time.

It is important to note as a business leader that you should never operate on assumptions or under the illusion that your decisions or intentions are clear to the management and the employees. This is why it is important that business leaders use a human-centric approach by considering how information is consumed and by avoiding ways that will foster misinformation in the ranks.

In the future, business owners will have to create an information hierarchy for the effective transmission of the desired information. Business leaders have to be careful when delivering information. The information needs to be clear and actionable and followed by the required details to avoid any panic or confusion.

Sending long-winded emails is the perfect example of what not to do and will only lead to further confusion or panic. During these stressful times, it is important for business leaders not to just focus on what your staff cannot do, but rather, empower them by informing them on what they can do during this pandemic.

Governments are showing how this can be done by sharing daily updates with its citizens as the pandemic evolves. By understanding how their audience would react to the information, governments have been careful not to spread panic. Similarly, businesses need to employ such transparency to build trust in their employees and stakeholders.

Rewards and Incentives

Rewards and incentives have been an effective way of building an agile culture in the workplace. But, the recent outbreak and the regulations that have come along with it makes it difficult for companies to adhere to their traditional methods of rewarding their employees. Measures such as social distancing mean that businesses are no longer operating with in-house employees, which makes rewarding deserving employees even harder.

The first challenge is that employees find it harder to feel the tangible rewards for their contributions. This may result in many employees thinking that their efforts do not make an impact, or their behavioral change of following social distancing has not made a difference. Since we as humans do not react well to delayed gratification, when someone who has stayed isolated in their homes and doesn’t see a change in the numbers of infected, that can significantly decrease their motivation.

It is up to companies to encourage their employees by building reward structures according to the new changes. In this way, a reward structure can be an effective tool that can be used to incentivize employees during this time of social isolation. The rewards that you use can be intrinsic or extrinsic, but in putting such a system in place, you can make a positive change in the dynamics of the ecosystems in which your employees operate.

When it comes to the type of reward or incentive that organizations can use while building an agile culture, businesses can use gamification or monetization, or use social rewards to incentivize their employees even during this time of working remotely. All of these types of rewards can be utilized as a response to the recent coronavirus outbreak to make employees feel a sense of appreciation even without any physical contact and while following social distancing requirements.

Staying Connected

While working on problem-solving during the coronavirus outbreak can be difficult, it still remains an essential component of a business. Although social distancing has made it difficult for management and colleagues to stay connected while working remotely, staying connected is key for business success.

Staying connected, in this case, is having the tools to communicate efficiently with a workforce regardless of geographical constraints. While there are many companies that are privy to using various technologies to stay connected with their workforce on the ground, in a post coronavirus working environment, more companies will need to adapt to these changes.

It is important for business owners to use creativity and empathy when it comes to addressing the issues of staying connected during social distancing, mainly because the decisions that are made today can have long-term implications for the company. While it might not be easy to make some unpopular decisions, it is crucial for business leaders to use a human centric approach towards maintaining streamlined communication between their employees and all other stakeholders during these circumstances.

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LA CULTURA DIGITALE AZIENDALE E I SUOI LEADER CORAGGIOSI. LA SOCIETA’ DI MARKETING DIGITALE ITALIANA “DERAWEB” COME ESEMPIO DI ECCELLENZA NELLA GESTIONE DELLE RISORSE UMANE

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INTERVIEWER: Cinzia Nitti

HR Revolution: Ciao Fabio, grazie per aver accettato la nostra intervista e per quanto vorrai condividere con noi. Cominciamo: chi è Fabio De Lucia?

Fabio De Lucia: Ciao e grazie per questa intervista. Sono nato il 21 marzo del 1986 e il percorso accademico mi ha qualificato come perito commerciale con il massimo dei voti. Dopo la maturità e coerentemente con il mio approccio pratico alla vita, trovavo inefficace continuare a studiare per qualcosa di “non-tangibile”, quindi sono partito per Parigi e una volta rientrato, ho trovato impiego presso un’agenzia viaggi nel 2005. Ho iniziato a interessarmi a piani di sviluppo per implementare e migliorare i prodotti offerti. Credevo in quello che facevo ma, non trovando riscontro positivo da parte del mio titolare, ho rassegnato le dimissioni. All’epoca conoscevo già il mio caro amico e colui che sarebbe diventato il mio socio, Andrea (Dettole), il quale lavorava nel settore utilities nel nord Italia. Unendo le nostre conoscenze e competenze, nel 2008 abbiamo avviato Sundera, azienda di vendita servizi Business To Business (o B2B) e assistenza nel campo delle utilities: mi occupavo principalmente dei piani di sviluppo commerciale.

HR Revolution: Come nasce la web agency Deraweb e quale la sua mission?

Fabio De Lucia: Dall’esperienza positiva pregressa, nel 2016 abbiamo deciso di fondare con Andrea la società di marketing digitale Deraweb, brand partner della primogenita Sundera. L’impreparazione dei titolari di partita IVA in fatto di marketing e digitalizzazione dei prodotti aziendali – riscontrata a livello nazionale – è stato il fattore chiave che ha dato vita a Deraweb. La nostra azienda ha l’obiettivo di fornire strumenti efficaci per lo sviluppo aziendale in prospettiva di promozione digitale. In quattro anni il nostro pacchetto clienti è cresciuto in tutta Italia e su piano internazionale, acquisendo 600 clienti e con proiezione di raggiungere quota mille entro fine anno. La famiglia Deraweb conta oggi 15 dipendenti e 20 consulenti.

HR Revolution: Le Risorse Umane sono le componenti-chiave per il successo imprenditoriale. Il COVID-19 ha inevitabilmente imposto un cambiamento degli equilibri nella gestione aziendale. Come avete affrontato la sfida in fatto di nuovi assetti, ripianificazione e gestione del personale?

Fabio De Lucia: Il nostro metodo operativo prevede la maggior parte del lavoro da remoto. Gli strumenti digitali dunque, si sono confermati lo strumento indispensabile nel nostro lavoro; la pandemia è stata un elemento positivo in fatto di consolidamento di Deraweb. Si è trattato di un periodo di transizione per tutti. Nonostante uno stop forzato per alcuni e il crollo degli incassi nel mese di marzo, i nostri dipendenti si sono messi a completa disposizione dell’azienda, dei clienti, contribuendo in modo non indifferente alla buona riuscita degli intenti. Ci sono stati tutti vicini. Sono stati bravi e vanno tutti elogiati per questo.

HR Revolution: Cultura Digitale Aziendale: la risoluzione di problemi attraverso l’utilizzo di strumenti digitali si è rivelata un elemento vincente nella gestione del pacchetto-clienti durante la crisi pandemica?

Fabio De Lucia: Da titolari di azienda, nel supporto ai clienti e per una gestione ottimale dei servizi offerti, abbiamo deciso di operare in modo differente rispetto ai concorrenti. Abbiamo fornito gli strumenti necessari alla “sopravvivenza pandemica” con metodo studiato e mirato, soprattutto gratuito. In che modo? Creando manuali, guide strategiche “BUSINESS WORKOUT”, webinar e consulenze gratuite a disposizione dei clienti per evitare il fenomeno dell’inazione. Non a caso, il feedback è stato assolutamente positivo: abbiamo rafforzato il rapporto di reciprocità e fiducia con i nostri clienti, premiando inoltre coloro i quali hanno rispettato le scadenze in un periodo tanto complesso, fornendo un’estensione gratuita di un mese del servizio. Quest’approccio ci ha permesso di registrare risultati esponenzialmente più alti nel nostro ambito, a dispetto delle previsioni che la condizione economica generale avrebbe imposto.

HR Revolution: Spesso si pone l’accento sulla fidelizzazione del cliente, sottovalutando che la riuscita di un progetto o l’acquisizione di un contratto, derivi da un’ottima commistione di professionalità ed energie di un gruppo omogeneo e coeso. Dicci di più del tuo team. Sono importanti la Diversità e l’Inclusione in Deraweb e perché?

Fabio De Lucia: Assolutamente sì, per noi Diversità e Inclusione sono importanti. E rendono Deraweb un ambiente stimolante: il clima aziendale assume il giusto equilibrio tra competenze, rispetto delle qualità di ognuno e dimensione umana. Abbiamo messo in atto un modello di leadership che ispira gli altri e invoglia a migliorarsi. Dal consulente commerciale al servizio clienti, ai tecnici grafici, addetti marketing, comunicazione e social media, l’elemento della formazione continua inoltre, ha permesso di stabilire la gestione dei progetti in cui, senza più necessità di definizione esplicita, ogni membro del gruppo conosce esattamente il suo ruolo all’interno del processo. 

C’è fiducia e stima reciproca, spirito di sacrificio e altrettanta collaborazione. Da parte nostra c’è attenzione alle proposte di ognuno. Il mio lavoro mi ha dato modo di visitare tante aziende e conoscere altre realtà, ma qui da noi c’è un clima diverso, un clima che piace e che permette di lavorare secondo un equilibrio che dimostra quanto i nostri ragazzi siano “allineati”: in Deraweb proprio non riesce ad arrivare qualcuno che non abbia i nostri stessi valori.

HR Revolution: La Parità di Genere è un obiettivo di rilievo in una realtà aziendale. Definiresti l’equilibrio di genere parte integrante del vostro successo?

Fabio De Lucia: Sì, le donne nella nostra azienda sono un valore aggiunto e particolarmente apprezzate. Hanno un approccio naturalmente diverso all’ascolto del cliente e alla gestione di una richiesta. Sempre attente ai dettagli, precise, sicuramente meno impulsive in fatto creativo rispetto agli uomini. È una scelta aziendale mirata, quella di impostare gruppi di lavoro misti: sono la sintesi perfetta che genera stabilità. In Italia si parla troppo poco di Parità di Genere sul posto di lavoro, noi invece siamo ben felici di dare possibilità di crescita e carriera alle nostre dipendenti, mamme incluse! Sono tutte ben accolte, troviamo che siano una risorsa irrinunciabile e grande indice di maturità nel nostro team. Da sempre puntiamo su piani di sviluppo aziendale assolutamente paritari; la famiglia Deraweb è un gruppo eterogeneo che ha fatto anche di questo equilibrio un punto di forza. 

Grazie Fabio per averci aperto le porte di Deraweb e condiviso con HR Revolution Middle East, l’esempio positivo di una realtà aziendale solida che ha fatto delle Risorse Umane il suo motivo di orgoglio!

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