Excerpt from Chapter 4 How Do You Make Decisions? Overview of a CEO-Tested Process
Example: Internal Competition for Funding
The following is an example of an experienced executive who was under pressure from groups in her division to adopt different paths of action. Using the Clarity State Decision-Making technique outlined previously, she was able to find a broader, more constructive perspective that was valuable for her and then reach a clear decision.
Mary is a division head of a large company in the durable consumer goods sector. Within her division, two groups were competing for funding. One group was working on a plan to consolidate two customer service centers, and the group needed money to fund changes to the customer relationship management system. The other group needed funding for a distribution center for a critical equipment update.
As Mary reflected on the needs, she became convinced that both requests would have to be funded. However, the division could invest only a certain amount of money that year-whatever was in the budget, which was not enough for both projects. Here is Mary's feedback after she went through the Clarity State Decision- Making technique: "I realized that we could fund both projects, but not simultaneously! I decided to immediately fund the distribution center needs. It also became clear how we could shift customer service load to other locations, reap the cost savings that we expected, and utilize these savings in funding the software changes. This was a result that I did not expect!"
Mary shared how she arrived at this conclusion as a result of using the technique. "I had a number of concerns that were real. If we did not act quickly on both projects, our customers would feel it. The decision definition part of the process helped me clarify these concerns. Things started falling into place." Mary was able to identify and work with her emotions: "I found some anxiety associated with the situation. As I focused on it, I realized where it was coming from, and I added another constraint." The constraints relaxation exercise identified a new perspective: "As you were asking me to look at constraints one by one, I found that one constraint in particular was 'framing' me. This constraint focused me on the fact that we committed to the parent company that we would complete the customer center's consolidation. But, in reality, we committed to the cost saving results that my division was going to deliver, not the actual consolidation."
She finally found her insight trigger: "You asked me to visualize a situation where these problems had been addressed. When I did that and looked at it from a higher perspective and a broader view, I suddenly saw all our customer centers in a map in front of me. It became clear how we could move traffic between them and achieve the cost savings that we were looking for. Everything became clear in an instant. The solution was so simple."