Monday, May 31, 2010

Decisive Action

There are far too many people out there, at all levels, from top management to entry level, that are allergic to taking decisive action. Now a decisive action does not mean a stupid action. It does not mean an improperly thought out, unplanned, immature action. I mean the type of action where a stand of some sort is made and held to instead of the typical wishy-washy let’s stay forever safe and not get anywhere type of fence sitting that has resulted in the IT industry being so chaotic and unstructured.

Not every minute of every day is going to require decisive action. But when the need for such action is required, it is imperative that it be taken. Perhaps the greatest general ever, Napoleon Bonaparte, was famous for taking decisive actions that would alter the course of history, sometimes in the thick of battle. What he is less famous for is the huge amount of planning and preparation he went through prior to his decision making. The result? A legend, who almost took over all of Europe.

Now, we in our cubicles and offices need not worry about being a Napoleon, making life or death decisions, but the principle remains the same as does the benefit. So how does all this apply to IT Process Improvement? To cite just one example, when a decision to implement a methodology is made, it should be implemented with a decisive, do or die energy. Now this does not mean that it should not be carefully monitored and course corrections taken. This does not mean that risk analysis and mitigation be not performed. It does mean that we don’t give up at the first obstacle that comes by or worse even not take the decision to implement an improvement in the first place. Even an entry level person in his cubicle can apply decisive action taking in small and measured ways. Of course, if the organizational culture is one of non-decisiveness then it may be best to be discrete in this aspect as I can testify by my own experiences. This is an ideology that is most effective when applied by the senior management and it naturally trickles down to the lower levels as the organizational culture becomes imbued with a certain fearlessness.

Plan carefully and then take decisive action. This has always been the way of the truly successful.

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