Mon, 29 Apr 2024 Feature Article

Using the Smart Decision Toolkit in Crafting Sound Policies and Strategies

Using the Smart Decision Toolkit in Crafting Sound Policies and Strategies

In life, whether from a corporate or personal perspective, there are many things or situations which we regularly deal with and because of their recurrence, we end up devising a standard way of dealing with them whenever a need arises – thus the need for a POLICY.

According to the Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, a Policy is a definite course or method of action selected from among alternatives and in light of given conditions to guide and determine present and future decisions while a strategy is a careful plan or method.

A Policy can also be described as an action plan adopted by an organization for it to achieve its set goals through smoothening work processes and human engagement.

It promotes the smooth running of an organization’s operations by defining the rules and procedures which determine interaction between management and staff as well as the interaction between an organisation’s personnel with various other stakeholders.

Once policies are crafted, there is a need to respect them and to make sure that they are being followed.

A Policy is like the - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) – on some websites, of which under the (FAQ) tab, several questions which are frequently asked by different people are listed and the answers to those questions are provided.

In the Book, The Practical Executive, I describe a Policy as a predefined answer to recurring problems or developments, but unlike the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), a policy addresses many issues, both positive and negative concerning an organisation so that when something happens, people already know what they must do to handle it.

For example, in an organisation’s policy document, issues to do with the following situations are already pre-determined even though it can be reviewed depending on the prevailing situation:

  1. how a person gets disciplined for work related offences
  2. how an individual gets promoted
  3. how a customer complaint is addressed

This basically means that in any institution, there are some developments whether good or bad that are bound to happen from time to time and thus there must be mechanisms which are devised and put in place in order to attend to such issues whenever they arise.

A policy is a mechanism which helps an organisation to avoid bringing operations to a stand-still whenever there is an issue to be attended to and this paints a picture of professionalism and gives an assurance of order and fairness in the way how an institution is administered.

Unless the issue is extra-ordinary, people must know in advance what is it that they must do, be it in the event of a disciplinary action, promotion, or any other related development.

For example, there must be a policy on what products to receive, how and when to receive them, what products to order, when and how to order them as well.

This would ensure that the correct product is received at the right time and in the right way for the intended purposes.

The best way to come up with Sound Policies is to use the Smart Decision Toolkit which is well explained in my book, The Smart Decision Handbook.

The Smart Decision Toolkit uses the Fundamental Congruence Checklist which is basically a set of ten questions that helps you to process information about a certain subject in order for you to understand it better.

A Fundamental Congruence Checklist seeks to answer critical questions that are important for analysing information towards making informed decisions and taking the right action.

It is a multi-versatile decision-making tool that can be used to gauge the relevance, effectiveness, and impact of anything in life through answering ten questions about any subject or object.

For example, a Congruence Checklist on Policy Design must address the following ten questions:

Policy Analysis Checklist

  1. What is a POLICY?
  2. What does it do and how?
  3. Why does it do so?
  4. What happens if it does not do so or if it does not do it in the right way?
  5. Where is it situated in the business matrix?
  6. Why is it situated there?
  7. What happens if it is removed completely or if it is badly altered?
  8. Who is in charge of it and why?
  9. How is its effectiveness assessed?
  10. What happens if it is effective or not?

When you don’t ask yourself these ten questions, you are most likely to make policies that are incoherent with your operations and thus self-sabotaging the attainment of your business objectives.

The ten questions in the Congruence Checklist gives you a broader perspective when you want to create policies which create and promote a smooth flow of your operations.

Once a policy is in place, people must be informed of the contents thereof and there must be a defined consequence for either adherence or failure to adhere thereunto.

The importance of teaching and outlining the repercussions is to ensure that there is smoothness in operations and that people will not be caught unaware.

Since we have already highlighted that a policy is important for the coordination of activities between and among all stakeholders, it means that if it is not explained, some people might fail to interpret it on their own and thus cause confusion.

The failure to properly interpret a policy or to uphold it, creates a situation whereby such a policy is reduced to being mere words in writing.

However, the absence of a policy makes the situation worse since it results in serious anomalies in the execution of duty and creates loopholes that can give an advantage to some unscrupulous individuals at the expense of others.

A policy provides guidelines on how to properly handle issues in an organization and this will result in a reduction of haphazard decisions which can be costly in time and resources.

A policy acts as a guide to make sure that a company smoothly moves straight on to achieve its goals and remain steadily in business.

Management and subordinates can find it very difficult to work in a company where they do not know what it is exactly that is supposed to be the right way in reacting to a development which arises in the course of duty.

This confusion interferes with the successful attainment of your mission and thus must be avoided, minimized, or even be eliminated.

It is thus imperative that every executive should give a deep thought on issues to do with policies, systems, and procedures to smoothen business operations through making management tasks easier and through boosting and streamlining stakeholder relations.

For training and assistance on how to effectively use the Smart Decision Toolkit (Fundamental Congruence Checklist) and other important principles in the other books which I wrote, contact me on – [email protected]

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Started: 02-07-2024 | Ends: 31-10-2024