Typically when we think of “pre-existing conditions”, we think of things that may put us at greater health risk. But what about pre-existing conditions that predispose us to positive results? Whether talking about individuals or organizations, some pre-existing conditions can be helpful – even essential- for accomplishing great things.
TregoED has identified 5 pre-existing conditions that make it more likely that individuals and organizations will have a sustained track record of decision-making excellence:
1 – Seeking clarity before action – clearly sometimes reflexive action is essential. But don’t some people (or organizations) just seem to behave as though faster is always better? Too often, people act quickly without acting well. “Solutions” that don’t address underlying causes, neglect important variables, disenfranchise important stakeholders, or create additional problems are solutions in name only.
2 – Deliberate and shared approaches and necessary skills – most jobs require some orientation or training – but where do people learn how to make decisions? Decision-making approaches based on best practices help increase decision-making abilities and provide a shared framework for collaboratively approaching tough decisions.
3 – Effective collaboration and communication – good decision-making requires good collaboration. Period. Involving others effectively improves the quality of solutions – and the commitment to solutions. Important for the long haul, involving others increases individual and organizational capabilities.
4 – Belief in others and the value of involving them – underlying effective collaboration is a basic appreciation for what people are capable of given the right conditions. If you don’t believe people have the capacity to make effective decisions, you are unlikely to give them opportunities to do so. Of course, this creates a catch-22 since people grow decision-making capacity by being involved in making decisions. District cultures that support people in being effective decision-makers – through training, opportunities, involvement, feedback, etc. – are those most likely to create, sustain, and retain decision-making excellence.
5 – Commitment to implementation –it is too often the making of a decision that gets the attention – and not the implementing of it. Implementation tends to be treated as an afterthought, despite being what determines whether or not a decision proves to be successful or unsuccessful. Good decisions that are poorly implemented are just seen as poor decisions.
Don’t see one or more of these conditions in your school or district? Take heart – they each can be intentionally cultivated! In the months to come we will examine each of these conditions more closely.For more information, go to www.tregoed.org