Making Good Decisions

Stephen Hawking called the 21st Century the century of complexity. How we deal with complexity will define our enterprises. Making good decisions in complex environments is beyond most of us. We must reduce complexity and increase wisdom to embrace the variables and technology amongst the ever-increasing pace of change.

Target Audience

We all have to make decisions. This course is aimed at leaders and managers but is equally applicable to technical team leads. Delegates will preferably have experience of leading teams within industry and be able to share experiences good and bad to enrich the course through interaction.

Course Topics

We will investigate the structure of good decisions and implementation, comparing good practice to common practice. We will examine human cognition and the factors that influence it. We will study the complication that technology has wrought upon industry and establish methods to measure the value of competing ideas. We’ll consider methods to simplify decision making through the correct application of technology.

We’ll follow good decision making with ensuring the decision is effectively implemented. Creating a complete strategy, plan and performance cycle is necessary to make sure big decisions and big commitments pay off and we learn as we go.

Course Overview

We traditionally rely on documented justification and recognition of the outcome (confirmation bias) rather than measured decisions. Through documented justification we make the mistake of relying solely on the opinions of experienced people, instead of testing different options. It is therefore unsurprising that many common problems occur and we seem unable to learn.

Even in simple situations we run the risk of confirmation bias and group think. This 3 day course introduces structure to decision making.

Training and education are not the same thing. Repetition, the result of training, will not cut it in changing circumstances. Our knowledge level must be sufficient to allow us to identify new unknowns and to develop or commission models to help us understand these unknowns or our inability to accept the risk.

This course aligns decision making with the opportunities and risks we are responsible for. Providing a structured method to map process to risk and opportunity, identify gaps, and balance value with investment to guide good decisions.

A decision alone is insufficient to achieve an outcome. The decision must be supported by a workable plan for implementation. The combination of analysis, decision and planning is what produces results. We rehearse the use of these tools, so that delegates leave the course capable of functioning beyond confirmation bias and group think, capable of starting from a blank sheet of paper if necessary and building functional strategies and plans.

Learning Objectives

Making good decisions is about increasing wisdom and reducing complexity. In this course you will learn how to:

  • Identify opportunities and risks
  • Assess the current state of readiness
  • Carry out mathematical decision analysis (for dummies)
  • Construct a plan and carry out programme evaluation and review
  • Understand human cognition and the factors that influence it
  • Identify cognitive bias
  • Use complexity science to identify constraints
  • Apply the theory of constraints to workflow and automation
  • Understand information science
  • Apply different technologies to simplify decision making
  • Apply business process engineering techniques to communicate the clarity arising from good decisions

Facilitator

Howard Thomas has advocated practical approaches to handling complexity for over 20 years. He has a unique ability to make the complex clear for his clients and audiences.
He combines an in depth technical background with a wide ranging business experience but is probably best known for his engaging style of presentation.

He is formally technically accredited as a Fellow of Engineers Australia and a Chartered Professional Chemical Engineer and has worked on hydrocarbon installations all over the world, from roles as a technician to executive consultancy.