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Decision Objectives

A decision, to be effective, needs to satisfy the boundary conditions.

A decision process requires clear specifications as to what the decision has to accomplish. What are the objectives the decision has to reach? In science these are known as “boundary conditions.” A decision, to be effective, needs to be adequate to its purpose. The more concisely and clearly boundary conditions are stated, the greater the likelihood that the decision will indeed be an effective one and will accomplish what it set out to do. Conversely, any serious shortfall in defining these boundary conditions is almost certain to make a decision ineffectual, no matter how brilliant it may seem.

“What is the minimum needed to resolve this problem?” is the form in which the boundary conditions are usually probed. “Can our needs be satisfied,” Alfred P. Sloan presumably asked himself when he took command of General Motors in 1922, “by removing the autonomy of the division heads?” His answer was clearly in the negative. The boundary conditions of his problem demanded strength and responsibility in the chief operating positions. This was needed as much as control at the center and unity. The boundary conditions demanded a solution to a problem of structure, rather than an accommodation among personalities. And this, in turn, made his solution last.

ACTION POINT: Take a decision you are facing today. Clearly specify what purpose or need you want to fulfill by making the decision.

The Effective Executive

* Source: The Daily Drucker by Peter F. Drucker

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