Dealing with Decision Makers

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian
In speaking to Executive Women International,* the room boasted approximately 40 professional women seated at seven tables. Each cluster discussed the decision-making process within their corporations. I emphasized that there is a deficit of women business leaders compared to the percentage of women workers—much like taxation without representation. Leaders may not always be decision-makers, but they do always manage the decision-making process.

The majority present at the dinner serve as executive assistants to their organization’s president. Each of the seven tables concluded how decisions are made in their companies, and those with the greatest challenges presented a description. Together, they concluded:

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 1. Appropriateness determines how decisions are handled:
• The processes are quite different between business structures: family-owned, government-run, or corporate.
• The smaller the organization, the greater the decisions to be managed by each leader.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 2. Challenges confessed include helping decision makers:
• Adapt to business change
• Develop flexibility
• Handle scheduling shifts
• Consider background information. They feel relied upon to do the homework and the research on issues—even to the point of becoming the “go-to girls’—which also creates a hot seat!

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 3. How decisions are handled also depends on the topic. Many make the majority of daily decisions, short of where or when to move the office! How decisions are made often defines the limitations of job descriptions.

tools of the trade by Liane Sebastian 4. Finally, for most executive teams, the greatest factor in decision-making is what best serves the customer.

* The dinner (Nov. 10) was at the beautiful Palm Restaurant in the Swiss Hotel, offering a view of Navy Pier. The décor of comic celebrities on the walls is quite busy to the eye. But the salmon was fantastic and I came home with a gorgeous flower arrangement by A Plus Flowers and Gifts.

hand crafted calendar by Liane Sebastian

See other ideas in Women who Win at Work.

Liane Sebastian, illustrator, designer, writer, and publishing pioneer

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2 Responses to “Dealing with Decision Makers”

  1. wisdomofwork Says:

    Since this talk, I have spoken at UCWBG. Please see
    http://www.wisdomofwork.wordpress.com/2010/2/25/leaders-studied-ucwbg/
    Before this, I spoke at NU, and compare the three together in a press release: http://www.wofw.com/news-speaking.html.–Liane

  2. Art is not subjective « Wisdomofwork's Blog Says:

    […] Talk about how people make decisions. What criteria do they use? How many decision-making styles do you confront? (See my posts about decision-making: “Decision Dynamics” and “Dealing with Decision-Makers.” […]

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