There are no wrong decisions!

During our life we are always called to make some decisions. During everyday life, at work, in sports, with family and so on. When we have a decision to take there are very few things that we can do, basically we can just evaluate pros and cons and then we have to take a decision. The only real bad decision is not to take a decision at all. But apart from that “not acting” situation, in all other cases we are going to take a decision (sometimes we are forced to).
My opinion is that whenever you take a well thought decision, evaluating rationally pros and cons, then this is the right decision, and also the best one. Basically the decision process involves the evaluation of the possible outcomes, of the different scenarios and our goal is to choose for the best one.
So the decision is based according to information available. Whenever you apply this basic criteria, there are no bad decisions – they are just the most rational result of the available information.
So the point is not to made the right decision, but to have the right information and possibly to collect as much information as possible in order to improve our decision process. In this way there are no regrets about decisions taken, but there is a continuous pro-active involvement in an improvement process of collecting and processing information. The focus itself is moved from the decision to be taken to the collection of the data and in our capability of managing it.
This is a reason why in general I’m not disappointed for a failure but I’m more disappointed for the fact that I have not forecasted the best decision. And this is even more clear when I have not invested enough time on the collecting information process.
So the outcome of this post is to never regret for a decision taken, not taking any decision is the real mistake. To make your decision just use the information available, if you have time collect even more data, and then use all the collected information to make a rational, balanced and coherent decision – OK this is the best decision you could have made without ifs, ands or buts!

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What is the main motivation driver

I have this feeling from a long time but I have never been able to make up my mind and to really understand it clearly. Then I read this HBR article on how to “Increase your team motivation” and everything seems so clear now.

When we manage a team of people we always think about what is the main driver to improve team performances, to increase reliability, to make people feel more satisfied about their own work,  how to reach objectives in the most effective way (effective for the people and for the objective). And we always think about the balance of the two “classical methods” the stick and the carrot. At the end of the day they are just two metaphors for two different approaches to the management of people – Push or Pull.

Push is much more “pushing” people when they need to be guided trough a new project, when they need assistance. An example of this is the fixing of milestones, scheduled meetings, planning of step by step targets, checking progress day by day and so on.

A pull strategy is much more leaving the people reach the target without interfering too much, giving them the picture of the objective and trusting on their own experience and skills in order to reach the target, checking only the final result.

Of course both approaches are useful and they have to be used very carefully and in the appropriate moment (Situational Leadership II model).

To these two basic approaches I would like to add a third one, maybe is just an extension of the Pull strategy, but I prefer to think of it as a separate approach. And this sounds like “let the people decide for themselves”. As the HBR article says when we choose for ourselves we are more committed to the outcome by a factor of 5 to 1.

This is a very important factor that a lot of managers forget. If the people is involved in the decisions or better is making their decisions according to the picture given, then the result is five times more efficient than without this self choice. Of course this approach is not easy at all because it means to share more information, to discuss more the projects before starting them and also to receive a lot of feedback on what’s going on (and feedback sometimes is not easy to be managed, especially for “Push” manager). But nevertheless this is the most effective approach and it is clearly demonstrated by results.

In nowadays competitive society, being able to leverage on people skills and let them be part of the decision process, to let them find the time to be part of decision itself is not an easy task at all but if managed in a good way could be the thing which makes the difference between an average organization and an outstanding one.