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  • Writer's pictureYvonne Root

Give Your Team the Power to Make Decisions – Part 2

This post, the second part of a two-part series (find the first part here) emphasizes a deeper understanding of the decision-making process and how to use the information when dealing with your employees.

Simply put, empowering your team to make decisions can improve your construction business.

Let’s look at it from a different standpoint. Withholding decision-making powers from your employees:

  • Overburdens you

  • Negatively impacts your employees

  • Adversely affects your clients

Beware of Decision Fatigue

Beyond the sheer overwhelm of making every decision, there is the impact caused by time delay and the cognitive problems associated with unknown factors taking place on the frontline.

The Empowerment Key

Giving your people ownership of and accountability for making decisions catalyzes action. And when time-sensitive or other vital decisions must be made, who better than well-equipped and correctly coached middle managers and frontline employees?

Client Awareness

Whether your client is a general contractor or an owner, their perception of you and your construction business depends significantly on how well your employees can deal with problems, make decisions, and move the project forward on time.

Dealing with the Imperfect World of Construction

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. We would not need to determine the best course of action in an ideal world. The path would be set, the tasks completed, and the outcome remarkable. Alas, we don’t inhabit that world.

The good news is that you and your employees are well acquainted with the need for and the practice of making decisions in your personal lives. Therefore, enhancing that skill and purposefully empowering employees to exercise their decision-making muscles gives you relief, increases your employees’ satisfaction level, and leads to more opportunities to wow your clients.

And there is a (somewhat) regular formula for making decisions that (often) turn out to be the best possible solution (under the circumstances.) Did you see all those qualifiers in parentheses? It comes back to the problem associated with living in a broken world.

The Formula

Even though you may not cognitively go through each step in the decision-making formula, you likely use many daily. The more practice you have, the better you are at making decisions. And even split-second decisions become less daunting. A basic formula for decision-making follows these four steps.

1. Determine the situation

  • What needs to be accomplished?

  • Why does it matter?

  • When must the decision be made?

  • Who should be involved in making the decision?

2. Explore the options

  • What are the decision criteria?

  • What are some alternative solutions?

  • What is the likely outcome of each option?

  • Is there data that can be used?

  • Are there others who can give guidance?

  • What is known from direct experience?

3. Take The Plunge

  • Choose the option with the most likelihood of success

  • Communicate your decision and take action

4. Appraise the Outcome

  • What went right, and what went wrong?

  • Which adjustments must be made?

  • What information has been gained to boost better decisions in the future?

Slow the Roll!

Even when all the steps in the formula are used, some hiccups can come into play. For instance, when decisions are made without a deep and clear understanding of company values, other factors can influence decisions. Some to watch for are personal convenience, the desire for immediate gratification, skewed information, or cognitive biases. The Decision Lab provides a long list of Cognitive Biases that might skew the decision. I recommend scanning the list and linking to the ones you think might be a problem for you or your employees.

Three Safety Nets

Three safety nets are available to increase the likelihood of making better decisions in your construction company.

1. Understanding Company Values

Your employees’ decisions concerning your business must begin with their in-depth understanding of what values your construction company upholds.

“It’s not hard to make a decision when you know what your values are.” – Roy E. Disney

2. Mitigating Brain Difficulties

Look for ways to mitigate potential cognitive problems such as tiredness, myopia, or overconfidence.

“An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgments simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.” – Edward de Bono

3. Being Aware of Data Dissonance

Sebastian Wernicke, in his TED Talk, provides a fun discussion of the use of data. Two points he makes are:

  • Computers can take large amounts of data apart and analyze it.

  • The human brain is still the best means of putting that data back together meaningfully.

“He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp posts – for support rather than illumination.” – Andrew Lang, Scottish writer

Reflection: What decisions must you make so that you will be able to entrust others with decision-making powers?

Ambitious Construction Contractors look to The Profit Constructors to provide advocacy in dealing with:

  • Clients and customers

  • Employees and subcontractors

  • Vendors and service providers

  • Governmental entities

Working with The Profit Constructors gives Construction Contractors the means to organize their operations in ways that help them:

  • Remain informed

  • Avoid hassles

  • Reduce risks

  • Be future-ready

Ready for action? Or want to know more? Get in touch today to schedule a complimentary discovery call. 866-629-7735


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