Do you need a decision-making framework?

May 26, 2015  |  Future of HR, Leadership

Many of us would consider ourselves good decision-makers: we manage to hold down jobs, pay our taxes and lead pretty good lives, don’t we? What would some kind of a “framework” do to help us? We’re doing just fine on our own.

That might be true in everyday life, but when it comes to making decisions in a corporate environment, particularly for those of us in Human Resources, the complexity of most decision that have regulatory, financial, legal and/or large-scale market impact require more than a gut-level decision of what’s right and wrong. It’s in those larger choices that a little help may be welcome, and that’s where a decision-making framework comes in.

Essentially, a decision-making framework acts as a checklist that ensures you don’t leave out a pertinent detail when making a big decision. In HR, these frameworks are vital, as we have compliance, workplace legal issues, the law (both domestic and internationally,) and the overall needs of the company to balance when making a choice. While we know our business better than anyone else, it helps to consider information outside of our own practice to make a well-rounded decision. These items are included in any good framework, and can be the difference between a power move filled with strong data or a navel-gazing suggestion that further proves that HR doesn’t understand the business. Given the choice between the two, most of us would take the former every time.

When I worked to develop the Capacity Framework, my proprietary tool crafted to help HR leaders make well-rounded decisions, I took these items into consideration. It factors in all the HR practice items we would need to consider in any situation, but it also brings in information from the business and includes research points that go far beyond what’s accessible in your building. If you have less than 48 hours to make a life-or-death business decision, coming up with your own checklist might be helpful but you could miss a vital detail. If you’re using a framework, it’s plug and play: you only have to grab it and start checking off the boxes to make sure all your bases are covered.

We have planners for our daily lives and infinite apps to organize every single type of decision we would have to make every single day. Why should our business lives be any different? The answer to the original question is yes, I believe every savvy business leader (especially HR) should be using a decision-making framework, and I humbly suggest you start with mine. It could be the difference between a game-changing move that propels your company forward or a dire mistake because a data point wasn’t considered. The choice is yours; make the right one.

Rita Trehan is the Founder and Principal of Rita Trehan, LLC, a change management and leadership advisory firm focused on corporate leadership, emerging technology, and cutting-edge organizational design. As a seasoned top executive that has successfully transformed organizations at the Fortune 200 and beyond, she has extensive experience working with CEOs and top corporate management on process and organizational improvement for maximum profitability. A soon-to-be published author, Rita regularly speaks at industry conferences around the world. You can contact Rita on twitter at @rita_trehan and connect with her via LinkedIn. Rita’s blog can be found at

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