This is a guest blog by Kyle K. Cheerangie, P.E.
A decision is a commitment to action. Until that action is completed there has been no decision. Good decision making is a process and involves a certain amount of risk-taking. The top person in any organization must be a decision-maker. Ideally, in an engineering firm, this person would be good at making engineering decisions on a daily basis.
Here Are Some Traits That Good Decision-Makers Have in Common:
- They can determine when a decision is needed;
- They understand not all problems are equal and can make decisions on the right problems;
- Good decision-makers can accurately define a problem;
- They think through the right decision first and then think about what is acceptable;
- Good decision-makers know compromises will need to be made based on what is acceptable, and sometimes practical;
- They know that until the actions are completed no decision has been made.
Let’s discuss the first trait – knowing when a decision is needed. Wrong decisions threaten to ruin your career including the work you produce. To avoid this risk, we need a framework to separate the necessary decisions from the unnecessary. Let’s look at the surgeon as an example to better understand this statement. Surgeons make risky decisions each day because there are no risk-free surgeries.
Here Is the Framework They Use:
- Rule #1: If the problem will cure itself without risk of death or great pain, do not operate, but watch attentively. To operate under these conditions is unnecessary.
- Rule #2: If the problem is life-threatening and there is something you can do, then do it. To operate under these conditions is necessary.
- Rule #3: The problem lies in-between numbers 1 and 2. This is the largest category of issues. The condition is not life-threatening. However, it will not correct itself. Here risk and opportunity must be weighed. The decisions and subsequent actions taken in this scenario separate top-performers.
Applying this simple framework to your career can greatly assist in providing a framework for your decision making.
In an upcoming post I will look at some more examples related to Rule #3 to help you better apply this framework to your engineering career and life.
What are three problems you are having right now? Write them out in complete statements and classify them utilizing the Surgeon’s Method.
About Kyle K. Cheerangie, P.E.
Kyle is a young, motivated, Professional Engineer, on a mission to help fellow young, motivated, Professional Engineers develop themselves into the Executive Engineering Leaders of the future.
He gained high success early in his career through conscientious development of the skills necessary to succeed in the field, in the office, and with the client. His proven track record on mega design-build projects makes him a sought-after resource on complex highway designs and the go-to Engineer of Record for one the nation’s most agile tolling agencies. Through his website EngineerJournals.com, Kyle disseminates the practices that lead to his success, through bite-sized action-oriented directions, meant to lead his readers from good performance to outstanding achievements.
We would love to hear any questions you might have or stories you might share about decisions you have had to make as an engineer.
Please leave your comments, feedback or questions in the section below.
To your success,
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED AP
Engineering Management Institute
Author of Engineer Your Own Success