Right vs. right decisions

The easy decisions to make are the “right vs. wrong” decisions.  These decisions you could describe as “moral temptations” such as inflating expenses or making false insurance claims.

But the harder decisions that come our way in and organisation all too often are “right vs. right” decisions.

  • It is right to cut costs in a downturn but it is also right to avoid redundancies.
  • It is right to reject substandard work but it is also right to appreciate your staff.
  • It is right to trust people but it is also right to keep confidential data secure.

These right vs. right decisions sometimes pose genuine dilemmas for us.  According to Rushworth Kidder’s book “How Good People Make Tough Choices” it typically involves weighing up the dilemma in terms of:

  • Short vs. long term
  • Truth vs. loyalty
  • Individual vs. community
  • Justice vs. mercy

By their nature these decisions never have a simple answer.  Sometimes the best way may come down to necessity or opportunity.  Sometimes you just have to take a view and run with it.

Organisations can develop a cultural decision-making norm over time.  However, in a changing operating environment these cultural norms can begin to work against success if right v’s right decisions are not challenged.

But it does help to understand what you are doing.