As a student of Business Administration and Management, I had had to do a project on the most sensitive and far-reaching function of a Manager. Then, I had thought that providing good leadership was the most challenging, as every organisation was made up of all sorts of people- permit me to say , the good, the bad and the ugly – which makes leadership very complicated and in some cases, very frustrating.
Much later, the following questions stared me in the face: What could make a very successful business go down the drain like a small road side one-man business? What could make a business that falls within the first five in the world collapse like a pack of cards? What could make the CEO of a company which used to be of a house hold name, suddenly become a reference point for business failure? What could make a world class business with the best of the best world class hands collapse like a business with a Board made up of a bunch of illiterates?
A critical look at the collapse of ENRON, which used to be one of the foremost energy companies in the world and their auditors, revealed one thing – these businesses collapsed because of the wrong decisions taken by some persons. One fact is indisputable – if the right decisions were taken, the damage done to the image of these businesses would not have taken place.
My graduation from school and years of working has further buttressed what I have now discovered – that decision making is actually the most sensitive and far-reaching of all the functions of a manager.
2009 provided me with further evidence of my conviction of how far-reaching decision making can be. This was the year the current Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido ordered an audit of banks in Nigeria. The result was very ‘’interesting.’’ It was because some of the banks that failed the CBN audit were actually banks which I (and I am sure most Nigerians too had) had a l lot of respect for, as well as their CEOs. Today, some of those banks have either been taken over by government or ‘’swallowed’’ by other banks – all because WRONG DECISIONS, like in the case of Enron and Arthur Andersen, were taken. by some managers.
For a business owner, the worst decision is to employ managers who will continue with the trend of wrong decisions. Managers who take decisions before thinking. Managers who do not know the difference between a plan and a decision. Managers who give priority to self-fulfillment rather than business interests. Managers who lack foresight and cannot decipher the immediate consequences of their decisions, how much more the long term consequences. Managers who take decisions like complete illiterates. Managers who live and work in the past and are guided by the past, in a fast moving world.
Show me a very successful business and I will dig up a catalogue of beautiful decisions they took. Show me a stagnant, troubled or collapsing business and I will dig up many terrible, misguided, not-well-thought-out and destructive decisions that they took.
My last line ? For every business (irrespective of the size) failure is traceable to a decision(s). Equally true, is that every business success is traceable to a decision(s).
Read between the lines.
Thanks for your time.