To be or not to be? Shakespeare’s tragic character, Hamlet—the beloved prince of Denmark—is famous for posing this basic existential question. Yet even before one can query his or her own being, there is a much more fundamental question that needs answering: To decide or not to decide?
This primary question is the philosophical starting point for a unique new publication, Director Decision Making: A Sensible Approach. Authors Chuck Re Corr and Clark Abrahams, both experienced directors, approach decision making in two parts: (1) defining the decision, and (2) making the decision.
The first part, Defining the Decision, may sound academic or theoretical, however, it’s as real as can be. This means asking the reason for the decision, looking at the problem that is prompting the decision, assessing the importance of the decision/problem, and asking when the decision must be made and by whom (some decisions must be made by the board; others can/should be delegated).
The second part, Making the Decision, covers remaining checkpoints: information for the decision, formality of the decision (e.g., when/how to take minutes), range of possible solutions to the decision, desired outcome, and monitoring after the fact.
The 26-page highly practical guide includes commentary on intuitive vs. deliberative decisions, and on probabilities, as well as a 2-page worksheet with 20 simple questions every board can (and in most cases should) ask before making any decision.
Will your board be asking them when it makes its next decision? That is the question.
I hope the answer is yes.
Director Decision Making: A Sensible Approach is available at the NACD Bookstore complimentary for members, $15 for non-members.