Do you believe that nothing slows down an organization more than paralysis by analysis – the inability to make even the smallest decisions quickly?
You are not alone. I think so too. Fortunately, there is a method available for making fast decision.
Let me introduce Mr. Balaji R. I first met him around 2007 when I was part of a developer firm. He was heading a real estate consulting firm in Bangalore. We had interacted a few times then. More recently, about a year ago, we met again. He was heading the sales and marketing initiative at Shriram Properties Visakhapatnam. I am fortunate to have worked closely with him in driving a couple of new initiatives together. I have watched from close quarters and learned quite a bit about his decision making prowess.
Here are some of his principles on decision making:
- Take firm decisions. You will never get all of them right. Some will go wrong even if you are careful about them. Sometimes it is okay to make the wrong decision. I have heard him speak these words over and again to his team.
- Practice what you preach. He would set examples of fast decisions for others. He has built a nimble-footed team of sales and marketing people who are used to his pace of work. Some have grown to take fast decisions like him while others are catching up. He would say, ‘Do As I do’ and not ‘Do As I Say.’ Rare to find a leader like him.
- Encourage fast decision making and don’t fire the decision maker. I have never heard of him firing any decision maker in his team. He would stand by his decisions at all times. He would insist on his team standing by their decisions. He might change his decision and not remain stubborn. He would have a valid reason.
- He would set a few principles for decision making. He would practice them. He understands that if he is not seen practicing the principles, it will demoralize his team.
- One of his guiding principles for fast decision making is fairness. He would quickly assess a decision to see if it fair to all, particularly to his customers and his business. I am a consultant for him. If he could help it, he would not let us or anyone else be unfair. He is also aware that you cannot be fair to all parties at all times. He will not postpone a decision for too long in order to play fair.
- Status quo is not progress. He must see progress, every day. He loves improvements. He would often ask me to work on improving our strategy. He also loves innovation and new ideas in action.
- If he disagrees with the company’s principles, he will fight to change them. He is not a person who will sit and agree with every principle that slows him down.
- Respect the system but cut the bureaucracy. A large organization like Shriram Properties bound to have an established system in place. Some process might have crossed the expiry date but still remain in force. He would know how to identify them and deftly work around them without violating the governing principles. Credit also goes to the organization for not having a large bureaucracy at the top. Shriram Properties is one of the few real estate companies with decentralized decision process.
- He can unbundle things and look at elements inside a package. He can quickly take decisions on the individual elements. For instance, he could rapidly tear into the specific elements of a marketing campaign. You give him a packaged decision. He would unbundle them and see the threads on his hands. His method helps him to separate the elements that will slow him down. He shows his people how to break the decision down to mini puzzles, review each puzzle, take a series of mini decision, and then make a big decision.
- Fast decisions will not make you very fat. J. (I added this. No offense meant.)
I wish I could put these lessons to use with as much ease as Mr. Balaji does!
Please join me in wishing him a happy birthday. May he live long with good health, long life, enough wealth, peace, prosperity, fame, and wisdom.