On one of the WA groups, Administrator of the forum has brought a topic for discussion. Today's topic is on decision based on head or heart. Following are the questions that he has raised:
Should the decision be taken by brain or heart as far as organizational issues are concerned?
Does HR have to use heart in taking decision pertaining to human resources?
What are the implications on the organization if decisions are taken by heart?
I have given replies to his questions. My replies are as below:
Replies to your questions are as below:
Q. 1 Should the decision be taken by brain or heart as far as organizational issues are concerned? Reply
: - Should manager or leader use his/her head or heart while taking decisions is very old discussion and that has been going on since the days of personnel management. This is a timeless topic and the discussion will go on forever.
In the capitalistic world, competitiveness of the enterprise is very important. Competitiveness in its wake makes a leader ruthless. Notwithstanding the bandwagon of Emotional Intelligence that HR professionals propound, you will find that the leaders of the top-notch companies like Jack Welch of GE, Steve Jobs of Apple or Carl Bezos of Amazon etc are/were absolutely ruthless.
However, the ruthlessness has to be in the interest of the organization. Therefore, the reply to the question is simple. Use head or heart depending on the situation. The usage should improve brand image of the company, it should improve competitiveness and above all the decision should be just and fair. It should be within the purview of the law of the land.
Q. 2 Does HR have to use heart in taking decision pertaining to human resources? Reply
: - As stated in previous reply, forever one cannot use head or heart, be it HR professional or otherwise. HR facilitate building culture of the organization. Therefore, while taking decision, it is important to take into account the impact that the decision may cause on the culture of the organization.
Secondly, in many (or even most of the) organisations, HR is just a plain messenger or implementor. Decision on quantum of increment, promotion, dismissal etc is taken by the top boss. HR does not have any say and just implements it.
Q. 3 What are the implications on the organization if decisions are taken by heart? Reply
: - Heart-based decision is emotion-based decision. The risk of heart-based decisions is that it promotes nepotism, inefficiency etc. Look around and you will find that most of the board members are immediate family members like sons, daughters, brothers etc of MD. It is a plain assumption of MD that they are capable of occupying a seat at the board level. A merit-based selection is in the interest of the organisation but emotion prevents MDs from doing so and they stunt the growth of the organisation. Even persons who are from extended family members also call the shots in the many organisation. Other examples of heart-based decisions are turning enterprise into a rehabilitation centre for the persons of the same caste, creed, language, religion etc.
Another example of heart-based decision is rewarding long-serving employee rather than performance. Many GMs or VPs are there because of their loyalty to the top boss and not necessarily their performance. Final Comments
: - Is it possible to take decision that is based on head and heart both? Indeed, it is possible. In the order of performance, Jack Welch of GE removed bottom 10% of the people for the years together. However, while removing them, he was generous and gave a decent severance pay. His argument was that a poorly performing employee inflicts hefty losses on the organisation. But then the cost of severance is just a small part of it. In contrast, in India, examples of on-spot dismissal or withholding full-and-final settlement are rampant. This is plain arrogance arising out of overbearing pride. Far from heart, these type of decisions are not even based on head.
Thanks, Dinesh Divekar 24th February 2018 From India, Bangalore