APTITUDE AND DECISION MAKING
The seventh stage on the ideal path dealing with professional aptitudes.
The aptitudes examined in previous articles took inspiration from the functional macro-areas of the brain and their significance. These functions are the potential "biological machine of life" that makes humans similar at birth and different during adult life, as the result of different abilities in environmental adaptation that makes us unique and unrepeatable, just as much as our own history is. All the aptitudes examined in this series of articles have a positive or negative influence on the different professional profiles and as such are intended to bring greater awareness in career choices.
In this article, we will examine the aptitudes that influence individuals in the decision-making process.
Of all the skills necessary in professional activities, those dealing with our decision-making process are especially important. Organizations can be viewed as a complex set of decisions (operational, strategic, routine, creative, planned, unpredictable, urgent, important, etc.). The direction of these processes are to be found implicitly in the personality of decision-making individuals, primarily in those who occupy highly influential positions such as corporate executives and entrepreneurs.
It may help to propose a useful key to understanding and analyzing specific individual aptitudes with respect to the different stages of the decision-making processes.
Most decisions that distinguish our work have the stamp of routine decisions, i.e. (technical, operational, procedural, etc.) taken and reproduced several times with a certain mental automatism; routine decisions do not trigger new decision-making processes but the simple repetition of a successful "been there, done that”.
In order to get reliable information on aptitudes in decision-making we need to observe the individuals involved in non-routine decisions that compel to start new mental processes. The non-routine decision-making processes can be read by observing four sequential phases and aptitudes that characterize them:
The analytic listening stage
It designates the ability of individuals to pleasantly linger in the listening sphere, in the classification of the various elements involved, analysis and contemplation, of profound search of the essence of reality, a curious collection of seemingly different elements, in search of the unexpected link. All this without getting anxious about time.
The comparative analysis stage
Portrays the aptitude of an individual who remains pleasantly and constantly in search of correlations between the different factors of a problem, an event or a complex situation. This aptitude aims at researching and analyzing the cause-and-effect links of the elements in play.
These first two aptitudes when particularly strong in individuals, recall activities in which the preparatory stage, that of understanding before taking action is essential. Activities in which the diagnosis and careful analysis are success factors. Trade practices such as listening to the dynamics of the market, listening to customers and employees, paying attention to the qualitative aspects of the work, analysis of alternative commercial formulas and search for new organizational strategies, nurture these aptitudes.
The theoretical planning stage
Designates the aptitude of those individuals who prefer to apply themselves in the planning of works or events, in anticipating the size or concrete feasibility, lingering in the game of forecasting a number of possible solutions and foreseeing possible constraints and opportunities.
The decision stage
Relates to the ability of individuals who like to be involved in decision-making activities designed to lend substance to their projects. The consistency, action, tangibility, productivity, deadline anxiety, characterizes this ability.
These last two skills, if significantly present, recall activities in which getting involved, i.e. doing, rather than comprehending, results in a variety of degrees of success. Practices such as production, emergency management, marketing, attention to productivity and quantitative aspects of the work, are combined with these vocations.
Ultimately the inclination towards some or all stages of the decision-making process depends on the implicit emotional strategy, consolidated by the educational experience of the individuals, which has led them to feel comfortable in one or more dimensions, somewhere between listening (perceptual input) and the final decision (expressive output) passing through the processing stage.
These psychological dimensions, illustrated by Carl Jung in his Treaty on Psychological types, introvert and extravert, suggest comparative reflections between individual and profession.
There are professions just as there are individuals more centred on listening, analyzing, planning, or deciding. The awareness of consistencies / inconsistencies that make up the relationship between work role and the individual can prevent misguided professional choices in clear contrast with the individual’s aptitude.
An individual with a strongly listening aptitude and, at the same time, a poor inclination on decision-making might suffer from severe stress when placed in a role and in an organizational environment that requires quick answers in a short time. On the contrary, an individual characterized by a strong decision-making aptitude coupled to a weak propensity to listening, would considerably suffer in professional activities that require constant evaluation, stages of detailed investigation and lengthy response.
A personality that features a strong listening aptitude and a propensity towards detailed investigation has a decelerated perception of time (provocatively it can be stated that in their selective perception minutes are stretched to 70 seconds), while a personality characterized by a decision-making aptitude perceive time in an accelerated manner (they perceive minutes made of 50 seconds).
A decisive aptitude is, in general, not compatible with a high propensity to listening and evaluating, just as a strong inclination towards listening pleasure and reflection is rarely combined with the ability to quickly make decisions.
Productivity is closer to a planning and decision-making aptitude, while marketing and customer care are more in line with a propensity to listening and analyzing.
Individual aptitudes can be observed by looking at a person’s way of speaking or acting, in the speed/slowness of their speech, walk, movements etc.
Observing on oneself and others the prevailing traits, may help entrepreneurs in searching for suitable associates consistent with the organizational role and able to compensate their own shortcomings. The search for complementary associates (who excel in those tasks in which we struggle) is one of the success factors in any organization.