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4 Tips For Getting Better At Decision-Making

As a procurement professional, you make dozens of decisions every day concerning vendor selection, contractual terms, supply chain risk, conflicting objectives, technology implementation, and stakeholder management.

You’re often forced to manage conflicting objectives and make important choices under pressure, while always being cautious to balance risk and prepared to justify your decision-making process.

Balancing all of these conflicting factors can feel overwhelming at times. Here are four tips to keep you on track when it comes to making important procurement decisions.

1. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you

It’s never wise to make important decisions when your emotions are running high. You’re more likely to be confused, distracted, and overwhelmed, which can drive you to make reckless choices, cloud your judgement, or make a decision for the wrong reasons.

There might well be occasions when pressure from senior stakeholders or tense supplier negotiations lead you towards making an emotionally charged decision. But when you do feel this happening, take a step back, walk away from the situation if you can, and give yourself time to recharge and reflect. If you’re struggling to separate your emotions from the task at hand, consider involving a colleague or manager to help provide some clarity and guidance.

2. Do your research

An ill-informed decision has the potential to be just as problematic as an emotionally charged one.

While some circumstances will ultimately compel you to follow your gut instinct, that decision still shouldn’t be coming from a place of total ignorance. Be sure to carry out thorough research, learn what you can about your suppliers and key stakeholders, analyze available data, carefully review contracts, and seek input and advice from your peers.

3. Always make a contingency plan

In the wake of COVID-19, risk mitigation is more important than it’s ever been before. While it might be impossible to fully future-proof your decisions or predict black swan events (such as a global pandemic) it is possible to limit supply chain disruption by implementing robust contingency plans.

A good decision-making process will have seen you properly weigh up each of your options. This includes considering the pros and cons of each choice and addressing anything that could potentially go wrong. With this knowledge firmly in your mind, you’ll be well equipped to build contingency strategies once you’ve made your final decision.

4. Never look back

Once the results of your decision-making start to play out within your organisation, there might be no turning back. Don’t torture yourself by worrying you might have made the wrong choice. You came to this decision for a reason and you should back yourself and your judgement. Remember, if things go wrong along the way, you’ll be prepared to deal with them thanks to your thorough contingency planning.

The Professional Procurement Decision-Making Masterclass

On 14th May, PASA is facilitating a virtual masterclass in decision making. Facilitated by Danny Samson, Professor and Co-editor in Chief at Operations Management Research, this course will provide practical tools and thinking frames for supporting and correctly channelling judgement. You’ll learn about the two most powerful techniques for procurement decision-making and how to better communicate your justification for those choices.

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