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Business Decision-Making

Book Description

How do executives make decisions? Based on what? Are their decisions conscious or unconscious? Can they explain each decision they make? What tools can they use to improve their  decision-making process? What rules of thumb (heuristics) can they use when faced with decision-making challenges? These are some of the questions this book is about. During the past 30 years, as an entrepreneur and senior executive of several medium-sized Canadian hi-tech businesses, the author observed his decision-making processes to be based either on experience or on advice received from colleagues. Seldom were decisions based on formal or informal academic-based methods. Discussing decision-making methods with other executives of comparable business backgrounds confirms they rely on similar methods when looking for solutions to challenging business problems. There is no substitute for years of experience in any human endeavour. However, tapping into some of the methods and lessons learned from personal experience can result in useful principles for others to follow. These principles might be useful especially for entrepreneurs interested in building their businesses or executives looking for some additional help in acquiring a better decision-making mouse-trap.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Half Title Page
  3. Title Page
  4. Copyright Page
  5. Contents
  6. Introduction
  7. Prologue
  8. What Are Heuristics? (Rules of Thumb)
    1. Vignette: The Merger Fiasco
    2. Formal or Informal Decision Making: What Works?
    3. What Is a Rule of Thumb?
  9. How Do Business Executives Make Decisions? (Do Rules of Thumb Count?)
    1. It Is Lonely at the Top
    2. Vignette: The Doctor Knew Right Away
    3. Theoretical, Vicarious, and Experience-based Decisions
    4. Lessons learned: Heuristics
  10. When You Do Not Decide, You Have Decided (Do Not Procrastinate)
    1. Vignette: The Pandora Box
    2. Lessons Learned: Decide Early
    3. Vignette: All Is Fine
  11. Why Technology Is Not Important—Or Is It? (Computers Are Dumb)
    1. Vignette: The books are in German
    2. Lessons Learned: Technology is Not the Only Solution
    3. Vignette: The Baseball Bat
    4. Lessons learned: Why IT matters
  12. Experience Counts (What You Do Not Know Is Important)
    1. Vignette: The gun
    2. Lessons Learned: Know thy Customer
    3. Vignette: Volume is a Double-edged Sword
    4. Lessons Learned: More Can Hurt
  13. Learn from Your Failures (Do Not Reinvent the Wheel)
    1. Vignette: The Wrong Estimate, Again
    2. Lessons Learned: Whose Reality Counts?
    3. Vignette: Make a decision
    4. Lessons Learned: When In Doubt, Do It Both Ways
  14. Personal Presence Management (Your Time Is Not Yours)
    1. Vignette: Daddy When Are You Coming Home?
    2. Lessons Learned: Family Matters
    3. Vignette: Who Works On Weekends?
    4. Lessons Learned: Slow Down
    5. Warning Signs of Burnout
  15. Safety First (Without It Nothing Else Counts)
    1. Vignette: Fire!
    2. Lessons Learned: Check, Then Check Again
    3. Vignette: The School Van
    4. Lessons Learned: What If
  16. People Count (Show Them)
    1. Vignette: The Marketing Event
    2. Lessons Learned: Top Down or Bottom Up?
    3. Lessons Learned: Nobody can be a Prophet in His Own Land
    4. Vignette: A Moderator
    5. Lessons Learned: Employees’ Input Counts
  17. Quality Is Free (The Devil Is in the Detail)
    1. Vignette: Defects Too?
    2. Vignette: The Bicycle
    3. Vignette: Charged Air Coolers
    4. Lessons Learned: Never Give Up
  18. Believe in Numbers—But Not Too Much (What You Can Measure, You Might Manage)
    1. Vignette: The Columbia disaster
    2. Vignette: The Capital Investment Decision
    3. Vignette: The Eternal Optimist
    4. The Challenge of Knowledge Transfer
    5. Lessons Learned: The Knowledge Sausage Slicing Method
  19. The Customer Is Always Right (Most of the Time)
    1. Vignette: The Customer Is Not Always Right
    2. Vignette: Is the Customer “King”?
    3. Vignette: Deficient Product
    4. Lessons Learned: Value of a Demanding Customer
  20. If It Ain’t Broken, Break It (Innovate)
    1. Vignette: Five Monkeys
    2. Vignette: The Accounts Receivable Policy
    3. Vignette: The President’s Office
    4. Lessons Learned: Paradigm Shift
  21. Managing Errors (No Blame)
    1. Vignette: Preparing for the Inconceivable
    2. Lessons Learned: 9/11
    3. Lessons Learned: Murphy’s Law
  22. The Dog Ate My Shipment (The Inconceivable Is Not So)
    1. Vignette: Avalanches
    2. Vignette: The Ship Sank
    3. Vignette: The Company Credit Card
    4. Lessons Learned: Expect the Unexpected
  23. Let Go of the Banana (Delegate) or (Delegation Pitfalls)
    1. Vignette: How to Catch a Monkey
    2. Vignette: Micromanagement
    3. Delegate
    4. Lessons Learned: Delegate?
  24. Everybody Knows the Future (Is Planning Overrated?)
    1. Planning Is Not Important
    2. Why The Past Counts?
    3. What Is Planning?
    4. Lessons Learned: Planning?
  25. Complexity Is Out—Simplicity Is In (Less Is More)
    1. Vignette: It Is Too Complicated
    2. Vignette: Every Software Function Is Not Needed
    3. Useless Complexity
    4. Lessons learned: Thinking Process Types
  26. Meaningless Choices (Decisions That Do Not Matter)
    1. Vignette: New Employee Benefits
    2. Lessons Learned: Open Communications
    3. Vignette: Three Tailors
    4. Vignette: The Website
    5. Lessons Learned: Website Usability
  27. The Bank Manager Is Not Your Friend (Do Not Go to the Bank with a Problem)
    1. Vignette: The Bank Letter
    2. Erroneous Assumptions
    3. Lessons Learned: The Solution
  28. The Government Can Help (This Is Not a Joke)
    1. Vignette: Steel Plates
    2. Vignette: The Female Workforce
    3. Lessons Learned: Working With the Government can Be Beneficial
  29. Do Not Quit Your Day Job(Buying a Lottery Ticket Is Not Winning the Lottery)
    1. Vignette: The Perfect Business Plan
    2. Where to Start?
    3. Some Business Failure Statistics
    4. Why Do Many Small Businesses Fail?
    5. Top 10 Reasons Why Businesses Fail
    6. Lessons Learned—Do Not Give Up Your Day Job
  30. Endnotes
  31. Index