How making decisions boosts credibility
Give some thought to the way you and your organization make decisions. In a very large part, it affects the way you do business and, perhaps more importantly, how others perceive your professionalism. How you make decisions affects your credibility, whether those decisions center on contract administration, the bid process, personnel or any of the thousands of other details you encounter during the day.
If you are a manager, or the head of a department, your decisions affect both the people who work for you and those who face the consequences of your decisions. If you base decisions on the statements of one person, without checking facts, or fail to get both sides of the story before you decide, you do a disservice both to yourself and to your organization. Both sides of a problem need to be investigated, even to the point of verifying facts and statements from people within your own organization. Remove your personal bias; consider your alternatives. Styles of decision-making vary among individuals in an organization based on experience, life history, education and other factors, but they should all reflect the same consistency and professionalism.
The quality of decision-making starts at the head of an organization or department. If leaders are solid in the way they transact business, it filters down to the subordinates. If not, it taints the organization and compromises effectiveness. The worst thing you can be called is a “homer;” that is, someone whose decisions are always in favor of the home team, i.e., your organization. It’s not fair, it’s not balanced, and you will end up with a sour reputation that will affect the trust others have placed in you. And the absolutely worst outcome of all is that people will avoid asking you to make decisions and go to others (It’s called “forum shopping”). It will undermine your position and make you and your staff ineffective. How many times have you seen this happen in your work experience? How many times have you seen others bypass a staff member to get a favorable or accurate decision from someone else, or find another creative way to accomplish their goals? And unfortunately for you, that means avoiding you and your flawed decision-making process. Far too often, I’m afraid.
A solid decision-making procedure, an investigation of all facts and gathering of evidence will go a long way to make you credible. And in our profession, credibility is one of our cornerstones, if not the keystone.
As custodians of a process, as the arbiters of problem-solving, as those who have to interpret the law and procedures and stand in front of people to explain our actions, our decision-making has to be flawless.
Credibility is a bank account to which you make deposits and from which others make withdrawals. Make sure the credibility health of your account is strong, and remains so throughout your career.
About the author
Frederick Marks, CPPO, VCO, is a retired purchasing officer who has held positions as a supervising buyer for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey as well as director of material management for Northern Virginia Community College. Contact Marks at email@example.com.