A manager is responsible for the men, machines, materials, and methods of disposal. These are resources he/she uses to reach the objectives. And in determining how to use them, a manager must constantly make decisions.
A decision always involves a choice among alternatives. A real decision is required when there’s some uncertainty about choosing one course rather than another – when the manager can’t really be sure that it is better to decide one way rather than another. Thus true decision-making involves some degree of risk.
Perhaps some people find it hard to make decisions. They are afraid of making the wrong decision, and the result is they let things slide whenever they can. They are really make the “decision not to decide”. And the decision “not to decide” may be as risky as the decision to act – for if a problem is ignored, it may become more serious than it was at first.
Decision-making and problem-solving involves much more than the final choice among possible courses of action. It involves detecting the occasions for decision – the problems that have to be dealt with. It involves developing possible problem solutions – course of action – among which the final choice can be made. Discovering and defining problems, elaborating coursers of action and making final choices are all stages in the decision-making process.
When the term “decision-making” is used, we generally think of the third stage, but the first two account for many more man-hours of effort in organizations than the third. Decision-making defined in this broad way, constitutes the bulk of managerial activity.
Much of any manger’s time is taken up with meetings. Meetings are part of every manager’s life. He should therefore know how to cope with them. He should know the techniques of communication in meetings.
It is sometimes suggested that when a manager can’t think what to do, he holds a meeting. But meetings in themselves are not an end product. They are merely one of the many means of management communication. It may well be that a problem can be solved by a one-to-one discussion, face to face, or even by telephone.
Let us therefore define a meeting, in the management sense, as the gathering of a group of people for a controlled discussion, with a specific purpose. It is often salutary to calculate the cost of a meeting. A simple meeting of a few people on middle-executive salaries can soon run into three-figure costs for wages alone. Do not, therefore, have unnecessary people sitting in at meetings and do ensure that all meetings are both efficient and effective.
The essential of effective and efficient meetings are as follows:
A purpose: there are two basic purposes for all meetings – problem-solving or idea-generating.
An agenda: without this essential piece of paper (or a list on a blackboard) any meeting will soon become out of control.
Participants: participants can be categorized in three types: the chairman; the secretary; and the other members. The people in each of these three categories have their own functions and duties.
A result: a result will itself be inadequate until it is recorded in the final essential …