Ok, you may not be Captain Kirk of the Star Ship enterprise, or John “Hannibal” Smith of the A Team however you are a leader. So what did these guys have that you don’t is this the question and the answer is a simple one. They all had a “decision tree” which allowed them to quickly address any issue or problem which crept up on them.
So the next question as you stare at your latte is how did they build these tree’s and what makes them so special? In the old days we called this experience and it was something that was earned over time from what use to be called the school of hard knocks which is a term you don’t hear very often any more. This is why you typically saw grey haired types as company heads and in most management roles. As the “school of hard knocks”, for those that don’t know was the act of learning by trial and error, where “error” typically meant receiving a “hard knock” to teach you not to do that again. Another way to put it was “baptism by fire” which was akin to placing a novice soldier in a live fire setting where they either lived or died by how quickly they learned.
However the internet billionaires like Zuckerberg, and Larry Page who were still wet behind the ears when they took their companies past the first billion mark is a paradox. As they lack the atypical gray hair of the former stereo type, so how did they come about their decision trees? Unfortunately I know neither personally to ask, however what I do know is how to build a decision tree and the short cuts which they most likely employed unknowingly.
To start with, it’s important to know that all issues or situations are the same but different and here you have to be scratching your head saying what! How can something be the same yet different, if that is the case its just plain ole different. Well not so as the “same” comes from the state of the issue or situation as everyone has them personally and professionally. As our friend Webster says an Issue is “a final outcome that usually constitutes a solution (as of a problem) or resolution (as of a difficulty)”. Whereas a situation is defined by Webster as “the way in which something is placed in relation to its surroundings”, what this is when we are challenged with a decision point. The reality is something has changed in our surroundings and we must now come to a solution or resolution.
To do this we need three pieces in our tool kit as each leads to the next in a hierarchical order being, Process-> Procedure->Instructions which can be viewed as:
- A Process which is a a series of actions or operations conducing to an end
- A set of Procedures which are a series of steps followed in a regular defined order
- Instructions which form a direction calling for compliance
As the Process -> Procedure aspect is universal as if you have these down pat you have a solid base for your decision tree. Experience builds this as if you do something and it works, we tend to repeat it again and again. The only piece we change is the instruction as this allows us to switch from making HR decisions to Finance. In fact Sherlock Holmes was a master at methodical activities which basically combine process and procedure.
So if you’re looking to be the next Internet Billionaire, or just a better all around leader, focus on developing a honed Process & Procedure set as the instructions will follow…