Hard choices slow us down. Last week I wrote about ensuring staff understand the organisation’s appetite for risk to speed up decision making. I have also been heard to say that helping organisations articulate their appetite for risk is one of the hardest things I am asked to do. Why? Because it is hard to express succinctly what are very nuanced considerations for decision making. Often, balancing risk and reward is a hard choice.
In Ruth Chang’s TED video How to make hard choices she talks about choices when two alternatives are neither better, worse or equal to the other, she describes them as being “on par”. She says that faced with hard choices we often take the safest option.
However, she goes on to say that when there is no obvious best alternative, we can’t use rational reasoning to make the right choice. We should use reasons that lie within us for the answer. That is, we should create our own destiny based on our beliefs, our values.
This brings me back to blog after blog I have written about the importance of applying a “value lens” when making tough decisions like ones around risk vs reward. None more important than my one using a pressure cooker analogy to explain how applying a value lens allows organisations to push hard without pushing boundaries that may have adverse consequences years after the event, when uncovered in Royal Commissions, for example.
This year I have helped organisations as diverse as aged care providers, utilities and a not-for-profit in the mental health sector to revise their risk management frameworks and/or their risk appetite statements. Each time I have started from the same point. I ask for a copy of their organisational values.