Friday, February 25, 2011

Decision making

“...the guidelines are so clear that a decision in the concrete case is rarely difficult. They are:
*Act if on balance the benefits greatly outweigh the cost and risk.
*Act or do not act, but do not 'hedge' or compromise.

“The surgeon who only takes out half the tonsils or half the appendix risks as much infection or shock as if he did the whole job. And he has not cured the condition, has indeed made it worse. He either operates or he doesn't. Similarly, the effective decision-maker either acts or he doesn't act. He does not take half-action. This is the one thing that is always wrong, and the one sure way not to satisfy the minimum specifications, the minimum boundary condition.

“The decision is now ready to be made. The specifications have been thought through, the alternatives explored, the risks and gains weighed. Everything is known. Indeed, it is always reasonably clear by now what course of action must be taken. At this point the decision does indeed almost 'make itself.'

“And it is at this point that most decisions are lost. It becomes suddenly quite obvious that the decision is not going to be pleasant, is not going to be popular, s not going to be easy. It becomes clear that a decision requires courage as much as it requires judgment. There is no inherent reason why medicines should taste horrible—but most effective ones are.”— The Essential Drucker, pages 258-259

<idle musing>
Wow. There's a lot here. I'm reminded of Jesus statement about the person who puts their hand to the plow not turning back. I'm also reminded of the rich ruler; the decision was right there in black and white—and he walked away. The cure was too painful—in the short term.
</idle musing>

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