The world we live in is not black and white, nor even grey scale, it exists in full infinite bit colour. To my mind, decision making is about logically considering the colours, quantizing as necessary, and essentially deciding whether something is black or white. Without this certainty, the world as we know it would not be able to function. A computer is completely dependant on knowing if something is a 1 or a 0, can you imagine how crippled and slow it would become if it spent the majority of its time umm-ing and ah-ing: “well it looks a bit like a 1, but it could be a 0”. I’m not saying this process is easy, some find it very difficult indeed and that is why we elect leaders and appoint managers – people that are able to get off the fence and make the decision, black or white.
Now the dilemma here is that not everyone will arrive at the same decision, some people might decide that the colour is red, some will see it as green (I’m colour blind, so this metaphor is particularly relevant). You cannot possibly get everyone to agree. Again, we deal with this problem by electing leaders and appointing managers to make the decision for us and hopefully they make a decision that the majority of us agree with (although this isn’t always the case).
Now my problem with this process, is that in my experience, the people who are elected/appointed seem to suffer from an horrific affliction, manifested by a complete inability to make a decision. When the time comes to make a decision, a look erupts across their faces like an angry bee has become entangled in their pants, “But it’s hard”, they moan. That really isn’t news to the rest of us, we already knew that, that’s kind of why we decided that we needed someone to make the decisions in the first place. Why, oh why, do these people become so shit scared of making a decision that someone, somewhere is *guaranteed* not to agree with, simply because someone, somewhere is guaranteed not to agree with it?
A great example of this problem was observed by me this weekend. Gordon Brown, the elected (no he wasn’t! – another post, another time) decision maker for Great Britain was being interviewed by Murdoch’s minions. They asked him about the United States recent excursions over the border from Afghanistan to Pakistan. They asked if it was right or wrong for the United States to conduct military operations in Pakistan, given that they had not been given permission to do so. Surely we (Britain) should be applying pressure to the U.S. in order to get them to respect the sovereignty of a fellow ally? “Well”, he uttered, “it’s not something that we [Britain] would engage in”. The next question was easier to see coming than the Sun covered in high visibility jackets – “Because it’s wrong?”. Mr Brown did not want to answer the question, which was both surprising – considering that this decision was easy to make, indeed I would guess that most people had already made the decision, as well as unsurprising – considering that politicians seem to consider questions to be a challenge to their ability to avoid answering them.
There were only two options, right and wrong – requiring the utilisation of a decision making path eroded into most human brains at a very early age, but he couldn’t do it. For this reason in part, Gordon Brown sucks. In fact, most of the government sucks. In fact, all you people that have found yourselves in a decision making position, but are unable/unprepared to make decisions – you all suck!
Of course the paradoxical irony of this situation is that these people are so crippled by their aversion to decision making that they are unable to make the decision to stop being a decision maker!