In the end of the semester is coming and the pressure is starting to mount. I am personally feeling the stress from knowing that exams are fast approaching and there is still the final summative journal due. With this on the forefront of my mind, I felt making decisions that encapsulate both the operations and marketing divisions of our company added to the pressure and stress that I had been feeling and had implicated the decision-making process. What really exacerbates this is that while doing 4 papers this semester, I work full time too. To make this week’s meeting I had to leave work for 3 hours during the day. When I went to the team meeting, there were still other work-related problems that were on my mind and I could not fully engage in the meeting.
I went in to this meeting knowing that I was taking the role in both the marketing and operations teams. In the previous weeks during the semester our team had a distinct divide between the two functions. Half of our team made the marketing decisions and the other half made the operation’s decisions. In the previous roll over I took on the decision making for our marketing team due to two absentees. Though the marketing team had all their members, I was overseeing the decisions made and relaying these to our operations team. Based on what the decisions that we input, I gave a projected forecast of sales for all our products from which the operations team made the relevant decisions to ensure that we made the correct decision’s around operations to ensure that we could reach our projected sales.
I had a clear idea on what we needed to do in terms of our marketing, however found that once I had made the decision’s I didn’t question the decisions I had made or explored alternatives. I used the highest performing teams results as a benchmark and tried to achieve a marketing mix that was above the preferred dimension preferences and as close as possible to the team with the best marketing mix. Because of the mounted pressure from all other avenues I felt I went for the approach that would ensure that we could get the best marketing results. I felt the unconsciously I was trying to ensure that this week’s roll over and collective decision-making process went well and to the set plan and by doing this I did not consider other alternatives or explored the possible implications of the decisions made. I was susceptible to the confirming evidence trap and framing trap due to the stress I was experiencing. (Hammond, Keeney & Raiffa, 1998). In previous rollover’s I found I would play the devil’s advocate and question the decision’s that were to be made and offer alternatives. Though many would consider this conflict, I believe it was a necessary evil to ensure that other ideas were considered with the same weighting as the ones put forward. The lack of questioning around decision making and the lack of presence of a devil’s advocate saw that we overspent in our marketing division which implicated our overall profit. As we were not questioning everything there was a lack of thoughtful answers. As explored by Brooks and John (2018), questioning spurs learning and the exchange of ideas, fuels innovations and better performance.
Overall, I feel what I can take away from the last roll over is that pressure and stress lead to decision making that only addressed the outline of the problem (Kowalski et al, 2003). So, the decision’s made were based on the how well we were performing in relation to other teams but there was little consideration regarding our expenditure, which lead to lower overall profit. Kowalski et al. (2003), go on to say that people who are less stressed and able to engage in decision making that utilises a more in-depth analysis approach. There is one roll over to go and with many other’s likely in the same shoes as myself means that I need to utilise an approach to ensure that I do not make the same mistakes in my decision making. The following actions can be taken to ensure that in times of stress I am not susceptible to the cognitive biases mentioned previously
- Examine all the evidence in equal rigor
- Avoid the tendency to accept confirming evidence without question
- Utilise a devil’s advocate within the team and appoint them to this role
- Consider the second, third and fourth best alternatives of a decision
- Seek the advice of others
Hammond, J. S., Keeney, R. L., & Raiffa, H. (n.d.). The hidden traps in decision making. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/ps/retrieve.do?tabID=T002&resultListType=RESULT_LIST&searchResultsType=SingleTab&searchType=AdvancedSearchForm&currentPosition=1&docId=GALE%7CA21114518&docType=Article&sort=RELEVANCE&contentSegment=&prodId=AONE&contentSet=GALE%7CA21114518&searchId=R1&userGroupName=learn&inPS=true
Brooks, A. W., & John, L. K. (2018). The surprising power of questions. Harvard Business Review, 96(Issue 3, p60-67. 8p. 2 Color Photographs), 60–67. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.auckland.ac.nz/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=buh&AN=129192448&site=ehost-live&scope=site
Kowalski-Trakofler, Kathleen & Vaught, Charles & Scharf, Ted. (2003). Judgment and decision making under stress: An overview for emergency managers. Int. J. Emergency Management. 1. 278-289. 10.1504/IJEM.2003.003297.