23/12/2010

When You Have to Make Decisions

A True Study Case in Management Course for Decision Makers

In whatever position in the echelon levels in an establishment, you will be required at one time or the other to make it very hard, painful, complex, and difficult decisions – some that may test your very own competencies, abilities, talents, skills, professionalism and ethics. In one case or other, you may have just to go by your gut feelings – and keep your fingers crossed that you had made the right decision. Only the results and consequences will confirm either way on your decision capability.

Some people have been known to even lose their jobs, standing and reputation as a result of the decisions that they have made – either directly or by default and inadvertently! The decision may also even cause a heavy loss, standing, reputation, image or danger to the company in its very own existence and survival – let alone in its growth and prosperity. That is when ‘heads will roll – and scapegoats found in apportioning the blame – especially in ‘blame culture’ environments!

The story given below gives us an insight into DECISION MAKING.

A group of children were playing near two railway tracks, one still in use while the other was disused. Only one child played on the disused track, the rest on the operational track. The train came, and you were just beside the track interchange. You could make the train change its course to the disused track and save most of the kids.

However, that would also mean the lone child playing by the disused track would be sacrificed. Or would you rather let the train go its way?

Most people might choose to divert the course of the train, and sacrifice the only one child. You might think the same way, I guess. Exactly, I thought the same way initially because to save most of the children at the expense of only one child was rational decision most people would make, morally and emotionally.

But, have you ever thought that the child choosing to play on the disused track had in fact made the right decision to play at a safe place?

Nevertheless, he had to be sacrificed because of his ignorant friends who chose to play where the danger was. The child who chose not to play with the rest on the operational track was sidelined. And in the case he was sacrificed, no one would shed a tear for him.

The person who wrote the story said he would not try to change the course of the train because he believed that the kids playing on the operational track should have known very well that track was still in use, and that they should have run away if they heard the train’s sirens.

If the train was diverted, that lone child would definitely die because he never thought the train could cover over to that track! Moreover, that track was not in use probably because it was not safe.

If the train was diverted to the track, we could put the lives of all passengers on board at stake! And in your attempt to save a few kids by sacrificing one child, you might end up sacrificing hundreds of people to save these few kids.

While we are all aware that life is full of tough decisions that need to be made, we may now realize that hasty decisions may not always be the right one. This kind of dilemma happens around us everyday. In the office, community, in politics and especially in a democratic society, the minority is often sacrificed for the interest of the majority, no matter how foolish or ignorant the majority are, and how farsighted and knowledgeable the minority are.

Remember that

What’s right isn’t always popular… and what’s popular isn’t always right. Everybody makes mistakes; that’s why they put erasers in pencils.

Remember also

Sometimes we tend to favor someone not because he is capable or is actually right, but simply because we like that person. The person who suffers is the one who knows his job, but we simply do not like the guy or his guts.

Next time you decide, please remember all these!

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