Make robust decisions with the right people and the right information at the right time

Sara Roden is Director of Health, Safety, Environment, Emergency Planning and Quality at Affinity Water. In this article, she discusses the need for robust decision making and how having the right people, the right information and the right time is an excellent starting point for making good decisions.

Make robust decisions with the right people and the right information at the right time

The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations (CDM) have been in place for over 20 years and have been seen variously as a box-ticking requirement, an administrative burden, a framework for cooperation and coordination and a quality approach to delivering successful projects.  These views have been influenced by many factors, including, but not limited to, programming and commercial implications associated with their application.

However, CDM gives us a good framework and principles for business.  Regardless of the obligations for the recognised parties identified within the regulations, the principles of right information, right people and right time provide us with an excellent approach to enabling robust decision making.  

In all organisations there is a reliance on having good people in position who know the right thing to do; and we develop our people to help us to do this.  Robust training, professional qualifications, supervised on the job learning, continued professional development and competence schemes all contribute.  However, these are only effective at contributing to good outcomes when collaboration, consultation and communication support the team effort.

However, the current landscape of an ageing operative workforce, the potential for the loss of European workers and changes in company/employee loyalties - with the demise of jobs for life - reduces capacity in many areas to rely on the individual or hive memories quite so much.  

Which brings us to the retention of information.  It is essential for any business to retain corporate intelligence, and to extract from the heads of people the important information which should influence good decisions.  With many organisations using a myriad of systems, it can be difficult to understand where and how to store information so that we can retrieve it when needed.  Clarity is required around what information we need to gather, why it needs to be gathered, how it is retained and how it can be recalled.  Good management of quality, correct and accessible information creates a solid foundation for the work that we do and is essential for business continuity.

Timeliness is then key in bringing together people and information to be able to enact good decision making.  Delaying decisions can often lead to timescales extending, which almost always has an associated cost implication.  On the contrary, providing sufficient time for planning and collaboration, and making timely decisions often eases progression, providing better certainty around scope, programme and costs.

We can set people up to be enabled and empowered to make good decisions.  Whilst it might not be quite so straightforward as right people – right information – right time, it seems a very good place to start.

About the Author:

Sara Roden is Director of Health, Safety, Environment, Emergency Planning and Quality at Affinity Water. You can connect her with her on LinkedIn here.

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