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The Paradox of Decisions

If a decision made finds general approval, managers tend to believe that they have made the right one or at least a good one. However, this is a clear indication that in such a case no decision has taken place. Why?

Decisions are paradoxical. They are necessary when there are at least two, equally weighted, alternatives. When something is decided – alternative A – then this decision always leads to criticism. Because something has been decided, it always has those arguments against it, which have spoken up for the rejected Alternative B. When this does not exist (=without alternatives!”), nothing has been decided.

For organisational decision-making processes as well as for larger changes (Change!) it is thus unavoidable that it is clear there are no decisions, or changes, without disadvantages (=objective dimension), without losers (=social dimension), or without new risks (=time dimension)! Therefore organisations need the ability to deal with imperfection, to be good losers and to be able to live with dangers in a relaxed manner.

The paradox of decisions can only be resolved by giving up one treat to gain another. From the moment the decision was made, the future opens up the possibility to regret or celebrate this decision!



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