How not to take decisions

Author: Raju Thomas

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Decision making skill is considered to be one of main hallmarks of a great leader. While this is quite true, sometimes, how to avoid or postpone taking decisions can also be skill to be learnt. Whenever an organization is faced with making an important or difficult decision , it adopts what can be called as a ‘ Committee ‘ approach, which is to set up a committee to look into the issue and reach a decision by consensus. Since it will be a collective decision of all the members of the committee, no one person need take the blame for any adverse fallout arising from the decision. It can also be sought to be justified as a ‘committee decision’ taken in the best interest of the organization. Also, they avoid arriving at a final decision for as long as possible, with lots of discussion among the members, arguments and counter arguments for any proposed course of action. This kind of ‘Committee’ method is often used by the head of an organization when he has to make any unpleasant decision.

The role and importance of committees has been satirized in the form of a prayer ( source unknown ), which I would like to share. This piece has been lying with me for over 30 years or so, given to me by somebody during the time I was working in a public sector company.

“ Gayatri Mantra “ of Committees

Our Committee which art in quorum,
Procrastination be thy name
Thy agenda come, thy NIL be done
On Earth as it is in Eternity
Give us this day our daily delay,
And forgive us our progresses
As we forgive those who progress despite you
And lead us not into completion
But deliver us from decisions
For thine is the vacillation
The red tape and the veto
For ever and ever.

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