EMAIL #142 - 24TH OCTOBER 2021 - "IMPROVING BUILDING BY MAKING BETTER DECISIONS"
A quick recap of "making better decisions" from emails #116 & 117. Decision-making is simply trading off one thing for another, but where things get tricky is that a lot of decisions are based on emotion, rather than reality. The only way to consistently make good decisions is to be fully in tune with yourself (i.e., self-awareness), by knowing your own strengths and weaknesses and by knowing when to ask others for help.
The quality of building = the process/systems used + key trades and responsibilities + the decisions made.
For me, the most important filter for all decisions making in building is “would this be acceptable if I was the client?”
If you can consistently put yourself in the shoes of the client and make decisions accordingly, you will generally make the right decision.
"It is better to be approximately wright than precisely wrong". Warren Buffet
In all professions there is a hierarchy of decisions that need to be made. At the top of the decision-making pyramid are "one off, big-bet decisions" that only the business owner can make. Next, there are collaborative decisions to be made between senior staff. Then comes decisions that are delegated to those with specific job roles and finally there are "ad-hoc decisions" that are made on the go. It is this last tier of decisions that are the most common every day on building sites.
Ad-hoc decisions are based on the individuals experience and "gut-instinct" and can obviously greatly vary in quality and precision. My mantra for making good ad-hoc decisions is "always follow the plans". From my experience 95% of all building questions can be answered by studying the plans + specifications.
"Nothing is more costly to a business than making poor decisions." Mckinsey.com
A recent article in the Harvard Business Review titled "Making Better Decisions" written by Thomas H. Davenport, pointed out a number of steps for improving your decision-making skills as follows,
- Identify & acknowledge what decisions need to be made in your field (each day, each week + each month).
- Decide who needs to be involved in each decision?
- Create a to-do-list for major decisions + tasks. (For big decisions I recommend writing out a "Pro's & Con's List" to help clarify the issues at stake?
- Who is responsible, be clear about who specifically is responsible for each decision?
- Oversight, following up, reviewing key decisions, and learning from your mistakes are the best ways to improve your decision-making over time.
"Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from making bad decisions." Unknown
Thanks for reading,
Stay safe and read the plans!