There are two types of difficult decisions that business leaders will inevitably face. The first and most tractable is having everything you need to make the right decisions, given the right data. A few examples might be hiring the best person for the job or diversifying our offering with new products and services. We have an objective answer and we will find the answer with an analytical mind.
Other types are a bit more difficult to handle. It is a decision that requires more complex and subjective decision making. Sometimes these decisions affect people’s lives—the lives of people in our organization or our customers—and they can be decisions that make some people unhappy. There may not be an objectively “right” solution to these decisions, and arriving at a “best” (or “least worst”) solution may require examining issues of morality, ethics and personal values.
This is the premise of a book recently read by Eric Pliner, CEO of the international consulting group YSC Consulting. Pliner agreed to attend a webinar with me to discuss the pragmatic approaches he put together to make picky, subjective and often very human decisions. This is a particularly pressing issue at this time, as many organizations are going through a particularly difficult time opposing this decision.
During the conversation, Pliner said:
“It’s difficult because they’re human. They have a real impact on people’s lives, and no matter how much data we collect and how much analysis we do, we can’t make decisions without affecting people.”
The difficult decisions posed by the ongoing Covid-10 pandemic have made many organizations very arduous and challenging with regards to the layoff or layoff of employees, keeping premises and workplaces open, enforcing work-from-home policies, and enabling employees to implement safety measures. I had to make a choice. Stay healthy and at the lowest possible risk.
What makes these decisions tricky is that there is no clear and right action to make by examining the data. Two principles that both seem “right” (such as the need to keep businesses running, keeping people’s jobs, and making sure people aren’t harmed) can be diametrically opposed to each other.
Similarly, requiring employees to be vaccinated before returning to work opposes body autonomy (what employees do with their bodies) and public health concerns.
Pliner suggests that these “hard decisions” occur when two sides of the triangle collide: the morality of the individual, the ethical context, and the responsibilities of our roles.
Useful, he suggests, this modeling approach gives us a direct way to find a solution. Just look at the third side of the triangle.
“When the two sides of the triangle collide, look at the third side. In this case, it is your role, your responsibility,” he says.
“What are my responsibilities as a leader? Make sure my business can be productive, that my employees are healthy and able to fulfill their responsibilities, and that they, their families and communities are cared for. It is the choice of whether people go into space or not, to create a set of actions that meet ethical expectations for public health.”
Pliner acknowledges that this framework allows different leaders to make different decisions in the same situation. However, it nevertheless provides a structured approach to making decisions, even when it seems hopeless, there are no good solutions, or at least no bad ones.
Businesses face these challenges all the time, and without a methodology for making those decisions can be very difficult. And the bigger the business, the more likely it is that the business itself will collapse. Over the years, many leaders have made the mistake of simply ignoring such issues, but this is simply more difficult because there are many situations in which either do not act as Pilner reviewed in his book or there are many situations where delay has the effect of being a choice in itself. is likely to cause . To illustrate this, he points to the examples of Disney and Florida. “Don’t call me gay” Bill. When the state recently introduced a law banning discussion of homosexuality in schools, it drew criticism from all parties for the company’s refusal to condemn it, despite the conviction that CEO Bob Chapek personally disagreed. Customers, workers, and state legislators.
Plinner, on the other hand, cites Ralph Lauren as a company that made difficult decisions well. In making decisions about how to care for more than 80,000 people during the pandemic, leadership has gone through a complex process of understanding and evaluating the implications of every choice.
“A sign that they’ve made a potentially pretty good choice is that around 80% of employees have returned after a vacation period. This is a very surprising sign not only of the values the company upholds, but also of the way they live up to those values. I understood the ethical context and was able to reconcile it with my role responsibilities.”
I ended the conversation by asking Pilner what he would give leaders one piece of advice on the subject of making difficult decisions.
The answer, he says, is to evaluate why we make decisions with respect to the three sides of the triangle we’re talking about. This includes thinking about where our morals come from, understanding the ethical context in which we make decisions, and learning exactly what our expectations for our role in the eyes of all stakeholders are.
he tells me “I encourage leaders to think about this issue when they are not in crisis. When the crisis is inevitable … deal with the difficult decisions that have come to us all over the past few years … before you.”
you can click here In a webinar with Eric Pliner, CEO of YSC Consulting and author of Hard Decisions: How Leaders Make the Right Phone Calls with Insight, Integrity and Empathy.