decision process

Now It’s Personal

by Trudy on November 9, 2012

I have held a fear for a few years. I have worked to have rules changed to help me lessen my fear. My efforts (and the efforts of many others) failed to make the changes desired. And the fear was realized. My child is suffering from a concussion from involvement in something very much loved, hockey.

As an aside, to update any old-world thinking about concussions, it is a serious neurological injury that needs careful attending until appropriate milestones are reached, and a person with the injury can be considered fully recovered. We are still in the recovery stage a couple weeks later.

I am sharing this with you, because it has turned my thoughts to integrity, responsibility and accountability issues. The same issues that continually crop up in business and relationships.

Too close to home I am seeing the outcomes of a poorly made decision.

The community club presidents – made a decision to keep in body checking, against the recommendation of a committee on checking and safety, against solid research on the benefit of removing body checking, and against the popular opinion of its communities.

This decision was also made with the knowledge that:

  • Coaches are voluntary and quality standards and competency are extremely variable
  • Referee-ing in the community is lacking in its consistency and experience
  • Checking is briefly taught, but no corresponding education is provided to players or parents on what to look for when a hit goes wrong
  • An in-game process for assessing players after a serious hit is either at best unknown, at worst, non-existent
  • A reporting process to collect injury info is unclear

Makes the decision seem negligent to me.

I was concerned before the season started about the potential for injury on the ice, a risk of any contact sport. After the decision to keep body checking in, I became worried about the prevailing culture that would lead to the decision made.

But today, because of what I witnessed, I truly fear for the safety of all players. My experience indicates the system fails the player in the instance when they most need to be protected. This is a serious breech of responsibility and accountability in my perspective. This is NOT an issue of being for or against body checking, this is a more serious issue of behavior and outcomes by the stewards of minors.

A good reminder to think decisions through to how they may play out. Do you have the competencies, processes and manpower to support the decision you are making today? If you don’t who will pay for it?

In this case, the children are paying for it.

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Truer words have never been spoken.

This is something that I learned very young, when I worked in radio. Turns out there is no room for the “surprise” of dead air (Program Directors REALLY hate that).

I also learned it as a young account manager in an ad agency. Clients so do not like to be surprised by a typo in their 100,000 printed brochures.

I also learned it when a fellow co-worker and presenter had an epileptic seizure during an annual franchisee meeting, and SURPRISE I got nominated to present her material – site unseen, right now.

I learned this painfully, and never forgot. It was the biggest lesson on how to think ahead and prepare for the unexpected.

Clients/customers/audiences/bosses just do not like to be surprised. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Clients/customers/audiences/bosses just do not like to be surprised.

So tell me, how is it that we can almost daily see these surprises still occurring all around us, and some on a spectacularly grand scale?

Like Netflix.

In case you have not followed it, Netflix is a company that had a solid 10ish year business based on mailing DVDs to your home. As their name implies, they then moved into digital streaming distribution online. But then, some not so well thought through decisions occurred that are widely considered a multilayered communications bungle. In a very short span of time they had: a re-branding (new name), service change (down-scaled), price change (increased), and an add-salt-to-the-wound attempt at an apology by the CEO. Four surprises too many for customers. This netted them the info that 55% of members planned to discontinue their subscription, and discombobulated investors handed them a stock price down 57%.  I am thinking the resulting “surprises” for Netflix were equally unappealing.

Sigh.

If we have customers, we all need to think it through, all the way through, pop our own bubble and really consider all the different ways people could react to something we plan to do, and manage it. You may not be able to change your decision, but how you work through the change makes all the difference in the world.

Will you (purposefully or mistakenly) create any surprises today? Will they be good surprises?

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