The Call Center Professor

Decision-making – What not to do is just as important as what to do

What not to do is just as important as what to do 

Second Principle (Division of Mental Labor) violations must be understood and avoided in order to make effective decisions. The harder a decision-maker works with improper instructions (violating the Second Principle), the poorer the performance. Quality will degenerate. As an example, when operations violates the Second Principle on an extremely capable process, we will make the machine appear less capable than it really is. Instead, we must run the machine to its own personality, as correctly and consistently as possible.

You can’t do it alone

Understanding who is responsible for each task is key to a successful organization. If a tactical decision-maker (operators) try taking on every role, they risk not being successful in any role. Violating the Second Principle by clouding the responsibilities of management with those of operations, leads to chaotic decision-making. The strategic decision-maker can only ask tacticians (operations) to do what the facility is capable of doing. In this way, we can hold tacticians (operations) accountable for correctly and consistently running the provided facility. Management must never abdicate their responsibility to provide a capable facility.

When policy, strategic, and tactical personnel do their jobs, they form a team. The proper support information must come together to build a finely honed partnership that allows for good, effective, clear decisions. Operations must count on the executives to provide a clear vision and management to provide a proper facility for the mission. Policy, strategic, and tactical decision-makers must trust that each will step up and take responsibility for the job. Then each can focus their energies on brilliantly executing their decisions, trusting the others will do the same.