The Organizational Development Muse

Dr. Mark L. Vincent's Blog

The Art of Agreement: Making Long-Term Decisions

Posted by Mark L. Vincent on Jul 2, 2014 6:30:00 AM

Decisions always have long and short-term impacts. Short-term effects can easily be addressed, adjusted orkey rescinded. Long-term not so easily. And not paying attention to them means they stack up and create signficant drag on productivity and organizational culture. Sustained inattention to long-term impacts leads to crisis and the need for intervention, and sometimes even legal proceedings!

Some insights into long-term decisions include:

  • "X" amount of energy time andmoney is going to be consumed in making a decision and then acting upon the resulting actions.
  • Somewhere along the "X" continuum, rests the point of decision.
  • If the decision point comes too early, time/energy/money is going to be mostly spent at the back end on persuading others to come on board, taking care of details, dealing with contingencies, uncovering and resolving problems, etc.
  • If the decision points comes later, time/energy/money is going to be invested in gathering information, forming a comprehensive plan, building a coalition of staff/donors/volunteers to follow through, gathering counsel from wise people, planning for contingencies, etc.
  • It is possible for the decision to be made too far down the continuum, resulting in all planning and no action. Fear about waiting too long and not seizing the opportunity is legitimate and there are many awful stories we can use to illustrate the point. However, this fear too easily becomes irrational and leads people to overcompensate and leap into the abyss of a new opportunity. Torpedoes be damned instead of searching out the torpedoes in the first place.

Here are some additional postings that relate to this theme:

Wheel or Spiral? Which is your organization?

-mark l vincent

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Topics: process design, process consulting, discernmentarian, the art of agreement, organizational development consulting, Mark L. Vincent, Design Group International, long term decision making

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