Seven’s the magic number in achieving sound business judgement

A recent survey in Britain revealed that when it comes to numerology, the number seven takes the cake.

Perhaps it’s because the number appears regularly throughout cultures and history – there’s the seven ancient – and modern – wonders of the world, seven days of the week, seven circles of the universe, seven deadly sins and seven basic musical notes.

And so much more, like the ‘The Seven Fs – Tactics to Improve Board Decision-Making’ I’ve recently compiled!

It’s all about the Board putting in place an analytical decision-making process that maximises directors’ chances of consistently displaying sound business judgement and arriving at good, informed decisions. And it all hinges on asking a number of pertinent questions…in other words, the validation to which statements of directions and plans should be submitted.

The first of these is Fathomable. It’s the question we need to ask to ensure that we understand the nature and importance of the strategic directions which are being proposed, to the point where they’re captured and conveyed in plain and clear language that’s understandable by all and eliminates all elements of doublespeak and confusion.

The second is Fit. We need to be satisfied that the plan proposed for the company is suited to – or fits – its charter, purpose or core business.

Coming in at number three is Future, which is a test we need to undertake to be comfortable that the proposed directions are what the market wants and will help to ensure the successful future of the organisation.

F number four is Feasible. It’s all very well having a great plan but if we don’t possess the human and capital resources to pull it off – and don’t have access to them – we’re building veritable sandcastles in the air. It calls for a real ‘feet on the ground’ moment, when we take a long, cold, hard, clinical and honest look at the company and its capabilities.

Moving onto number five, we find Fast Track. Organisations can expend enormous amounts of energy, time and resources mapping out exciting and stimulating futures but far too little putting in place the project plan vital to the delivery of the outcomes. Yes, the mechanisms might be there, but it calls for a whole lot more, not least healthy doses of personal persistence and discipline as history shows that their absence invariably leads to failure.

The sixth is Facts, which is pretty self-explanatory and has us questioning whether we have all the information needed to arrive at an intelligent and informed decision.

Finally, we’re talking Fair…and it’s all about comprehending what the decisions we take will do to the company’s reputation. Today, tomorrow and into the future.

Of course, business judgement also comes from expertise and experience – we make mistakes, we learn from them, we observe things – and, if we lack experience, from having a mentor, someone we can turn to as a sounding board to mull things over.

A word of warning, though: in any mentor relationship, confidentiality must forever be the hallmark.

But if we at least follow these analytical decision-making steps, there’s an excellent chance we and the boards we serve on will soon be in seventh heaven when it comes to sound business judgement.

Until next time,

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