Think back to a time when you attended a conference or training class, and lunch time rolls around. You and your friends decide to go out to eat followed by the questions, what are you hungry for and where do you want to go. As I have watched this scenario play out over the years, typically people waste at least ten minutes debating where or what to eat. Why can’t they decide?
Last week I was at the Blue Lake Rancheria Fire Department in Humboldt County, California working with Brian Heinz of Chemical Safety Training. Our students were from the Humboldt Bay Fire Authority, Crescent City Fire, and health officials from Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.
Thursday night we conducted a hands-on exercise simulating a train derailment involving two hazardous chemicals: sulfur dioxide (toxic/corrosive gas) and toluene diisocyanate (poison). You do not want to be exposed to these products as you will lose.
The People Involved
The photo shows two individuals on the right who are researching the chemicals to determine their hazards and what happens if the chemicals mix with each other.
At the same time three other students are putting on chemical protective clothing while their team leader prepares the necessary equipment to fix the gas and liquid leaks coming from the railcar training prop.
In the center of the photo is the Hazardous Materials Group Supervisor. He is the person who oversees the work performed by those individuals assigned to his group. Along with the incident commander and the assistant safety officer, the Haz Mat Group Supervisor also signs the agreed upon plan.
The Decision-Making Process
The process for deciding what actions to take did not occur in a vacuum. Several people provided input from their area of expertise within the Hazardous Materials Group.
The tempo, efficiency, and effectiveness of their decision-making consisted of their training and experiences, the situation they faced, and their individual situational awareness.
There have been other groups in the past who became bogged down with paralysis by analysis and it took them forever to resolve the issue. That was not the case last week as the group approached the scenario in a safe, proficient, and professional manner. Why? Because of the background each person brought to the table and the confidence they had in their decision-making process.
How Can You be Successful with Decision-Making?
Success begins with preparation and that requires effort on your part. Become a student of your profession, observe others, and ask questions. Learn from your experiences and study. This builds confidence leading to quicker and better decision-making.
Next weeks blog will have more information on how to become a better decision-maker. In the meantime, if you are with a group of people and it’s lunchtime, make a decision and don’t waste time!
Please comment below and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how I can help you and your organization in this and other areas of leadership. Also, visit my website at www.impactusleadership.com.