Open-minded Decision Making Under Pressure

“People Leaders’ decisions are delimited  (surrounded/demarcated, “Peoplescape’s translation”) by internal and external organizational issues; and these decisions involve intensive information sharing.” Caroline Walger, International Journal of Business and Administration Research, Vol I. Issue 17, March 2017

The bar has always been high for HR leaders when it comes to a tolerance for dynamic work environments. Unexpected employee conflicts, sudden staff departures, urgent training needs, mergers and closures, are just some of the fluctuating challenges HR professionals deal with.

In our competitive and rapidly-evolving learning economy, success not only depends on leveraging technology and data to innovate, businesses are increasingly focused on developing adaptive workforces that are sustainable during business transition. HR professionals are key players as change-agents and their abilities to problem-solve in complex and non-linear ways makes them valuable contributors. HR professionals often have more strategic missions on their plate than can realistically be tackled at any one time.  Here are two areas to prioritize:

ONE: Prioritize Chaotic Conditions Impacting Culture – Take a lesson from Chaos Theory. The only thing we can expect is the unexpected. Chaos Theory places emphasis on the “initial conditions” that can profoundly affect outcomes.  Thus, any human resource issues arising from the fundamental company culture should be high on HR’s radar for problem-solving.

TWO: Understand the Importance of Hiring – Decision-making in the hiring process is one of HR’s most crucial functions. Good decisions can stabilize an organization. Bad hiring decisions can be destabilizing or can stall a company’s overall strategic direction.

In May 2016  a SHRM survey cited “dependability and integrity” as two of the most important attributes needed by entry-level HR managers.  However, by 2017, it was “adaptability, initiative and critical thinking” that was found to be most important. HR professionals are called upon to consider and evaluate organizational challenges. They will turn first to data points that lead to evidence-based decision-making or their own experience with similar problem-solving in the past.  Creative thinking is crucial to see problems in a new light and go beyond the most obvious solution to offer more options and to critically examine upsides and downsides of each.

Decision-making Checklist :

  • Gather data, obtain feedback, understand all angles, define and clarify the problem (maintain open mindedness)
  • Brainstorm and identify options (more than one)
  • See the wider connections and broader patterns that lead to creative solutions
  • Offer unique perspectives supported by an understanding of how people operate within your organization
  • Communicate clearly, succinctly, and accurately both up and down the chain
  • Maintain a balance of process and intuition

Contact us for information on upcoming Peoplescape’s leadership training for HR professionals.