Decision Analysis

Getting it right from the start

 

Ultimately, life comes down to making decisions. Few decisions are really critical, and deserve our complete prioritised focus. However, decision clarity is often compromised by uncertainty, risks, personal biases and incomplete information. Even the strongest teams make mistakes.

We have been personally accountable for making billion-dollar decisions. We have also shaped and implemented corporate decision quality improvement programs. We realise that this is not just something for the executive level; it needs to become effectively embedded in the company culture.

We are so passionate about how decision quality can improve our lives, that we developed highly interactive training modules for children (starting from primary school onwards), all the way to senior executives.

The framing of an opportunity is the most important step. This is an inclusive engagement process, with all the impact its stakeholders present, where the business objectives and opportunity value drivers need to be very precisely defined.

Decision quality is at the heart of DAREL’s ways of working. We will always be looking for the degree of decision quality in our own work and that of our clients. We are using the typical chain-link decision quality model for this with focus on the weakest link.

Assurance is a vital element of any well functioning delivery organisation. Even a high-performance team will at times fall victim of their own biases. The assurance team provides a fresh perspective, brings in deep expertise around the areas of specific focus and risk.

Decision quality is not just a corporate tool. It is an essential capability that can help us all. It also immediately touches on our behaviours and biases. When looking at decisions in a more holistic way, they need to balance “head and heart”.

Opportunity Framing

The framing process is often the most important step towards successful business opportunity delivery

The framing process is fundamental and the most important step towards the successful maturation and delivery of any business opportunity.

Framing is a structured process of aligning the project team and the key stakeholders behind a shared vision of ‘what-the-opportunity-is-about’ and the ‘roadmap-to-success’. During this inclusive engagement process the business objectives and opportunity value drivers need to be very precisely defined. The opportunity statement is further developed into functional, operational and stakeholder requirements. Together with the risks and uncertainty context this then leads to a number of decisions and boundary conditions (givens).

The hierarchical decision structure that is emerging helps to create a governance framework and a solid roadmap that forms the basis for the activity and resource plan. Good opportunity framing challenges existing paradigms and makes sure that external benchmarks, best practice and standard industry solutions are identified and fully leveraged. The process really benefits from professional facilitation, preparation and expert participation. It creates the necessary early alignment on what “success” looks like and helps building trust, commitment and bridging different multi-stakeholder perspectives. Framing provides most benefit during the early phase of an opportunity but can also be used to refresh and refocus during a later phase, especially in a dynamic external environment.

The DAREL executive team has many years of experience in framing and reframing opportunities in often complex stakeholder settings. We are equally comfortable to organise and lead high impact framing sessions as to participate as principal technical expert.

 

Decision Quality

Ultimately, business is all about taking the right decisions.

Ultimately, business is all about taking the right decisions.

Taking decisions in a risk -and uncertain environment can be complex. It mostly involves trade-offs between imperfect information, risks and uncertainties, issues and assumptions, threats and opportunities, behavioural biases and potential conflicting stakeholder interests. This requires expertise in decision analysis and a deep understanding in what makes “good” decision quality.

Decision quality is not just a framework, it is a mindset and at the heart of DAREL’s ways of working. We will always be looking for decision quality in our own work and that of our clients. We are using the typical chain-link decision quality model for this, and are very aware that quality is driven by the weakest link. We will help the client to achieve an appropriate decision quality at minimum cost. In our previous careers we have seen endless examples of compromised decision quality, typically resulting in rework and abortive activities, cost overruns, late deliveries and in the end very significant value erosions.

The DAREL team has been leading corporate decision quality improvement programmes, typically as a long-term change journey. Getting this right is essential for every company to out-compete the market and be highly successful.

Decision Assurance

Assurance is a vital element of any well functioning delivery organisation.

Assurance is a vital element of any well functioning delivery organisation.

Even a high-performance team will at times fall victim of their own biases, including groupthink and over-optimism. The assurance team brings in deep expertise around areas of specific risk/focus and provides an independent and balanced overview from a fresh perspective. Good assurance works in an open and transparent manner with the delivery/project team, testing the quality of decision-making and risk management, by asking open questions and drawing qualitative observations (both for strengths and weaknesses).

The assurance is typically done around critical decision “gates” or milestone events and is fully integrated. The assurance process assists the project teams to resolve potential problem areas and to prepare for the key challenges in the next phase. It also acts as a very good stakeholder alignment process, allowing key stakeholders with possibly conflicting viewpoints to test their own hypothesis and perceptions in a professional setting and following a constructive structured process.

The DAREL team has many years experience in leading assurance events and can also help develop or improve your corporate control- and assurance processes, thereby very much tailoring this towards the organizational needs, governance structure and project complexity. Less is often more in this respect, and the simple transparent risk based assurance process can be a real game changer.

Decision Training and education

DAREL is very passionate about training and education

DAREL is very passionate about training and education

We also believe that decision quality is not just a corporate tool. It is an essential capability that can help us all. Better decisions will lead to better lives. When looking at decisions in a more holistic way, they need to balance “hearts and minds”. Mastering decision-making gives us more stability, self-assurance, and ultimately more success in life. We have to be conscious of our different personal styles, our own biases that impede our decision-making capability and that affect how we filter information and jump to action.

The learning will need to start with the recognition that each of us has decision power. We need to act as players, and claim this decision power, rather than feeling victimised by somebody else’s decisions. In DAREL, we want to help build awareness and capacity around the importance of decision making. Not just in corporate entities, but also in our educational system and even in private settings. We have developed a number of training modules, tools and products for this. Contact us to find out more!

 

Closing the Learning loop

We understand the importance of building a fast learning organisation, and have the tools and skills to help

We understand the importance of building a fast learning organisation, and have the tools and skills to help

In DAREL we have experienced first-hand how powerful a well functioning learning cycle can be, but also how difficult it is to make this systemic. The vast majority of safety -and business control incidents that we witnessed during our careers, could have been avoided with a closed learning cycle in place. Each of these incidents had happened in industry before. Often, actually in locations very nearby, but we did not capture the learning, nor disseminated it effectively. Getting people to take time for proactive deep learning is not easy. It takes powerful tools like “causal learning”, breaking down the personal barriers and hypothesis, to make this really effective.

Typically, corporates invest a lot of money in learning, but find it difficult to measure its success.  In DAREL we have developed our own learning strategy, fully scalable, and with corresponding smart toolset. We can help develop or improve the effectiveness of the learning processes in your organization.  We are also happy to organise and facilitate individual focused learning events.

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If you are interested in working together, send us an inquiry and we will get back to you as soon as we can!

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