Balanced management view

Any decision we make has a positive side and a negative side. Investment, for example, has a positive side, which is profit, and it has negative aspects, which is risk and not owning money in cash during its investment period. We are supposed to make decisions in which the positive side is greater than the negative side.

It seems obvious, but sometimes we make decisions or refuse to make a decision based on the positive side only, or fear of the negative side only, and not based on comparing the two sides. For example, you may find someone who refuses to change the work method because this encounters resistance from the workers or costs investments, and this may be acceptable words if the matter is studied and it is found that the expected return is not equal to the effort expended or the required investments. You often find someone who refuses to authorize any of his subordinates to make any decision on the grounds that delegation means losing control. Yes, delegation loses part of control, but it gives flexibility in work and speed of decision-making, and thus the speed of completion of the required work. There must be a balance between control and flexibility according to the nature of work and the nature of changing influences.

In addition to balancing, we should try to minimize the negative aspects of making a decision. For example, in the case of delegating subordinates, we have to create review systems in order to make sure that we do not deviate from the organization’s systems. For example, in the case of applying new work methods, we have to reduce resistance and errors by involving workers in the development process, training workers, and benefiting from the experiences of other companies that preceded us in applying the proposed work methods.

If all decisions had only negative or only positive aspects, we wouldn’t need managers. And the manager who sees that the decisions are clear is not fit to be a manager. But the matter always has more than one aspect, and therefore we must look at all aspects.


One of the workers suggested buying a new machine, and the proposal was met with the following response:

This machine is expensive, so there is no need to increase the cost

This is an unacceptable response. The machine has a purchase cost (negative side) but a return (plus side). We have to compare the cost of purchasing the machine with the return and then we can say whether it will reduce the cost or increase the cost.

One of the managers suggested investing in a soap production project in a soap-importing country, so his proposal was accepted and the head of the establishment told him

Indeed, it is a profitable project, and we must start implementing it, because we will cover the gap between consumption and local production

This is an unacceptable response. Yes, there is a gap between consumption and production (a positive thing), but perhaps the market requirements there are more difficult than our capabilities (a negative aspect), or the market does not fit our strategy (a negative aspect), or there are many soap production projects under construction (a negative aspect)… We can make an important decision based on simple information that does not cover all the negative and positive aspects.


An employee suggested that the cost of the raw material for the product be reduced by using a cheaper and lower quality material, and he was met with two responses:

One: Great idea, it helps us reduce the price

Two: We cannot sacrifice product quality for price


Both responses are unacceptable as they look to one side. The first response looked at the positive side and ignored the negative side, and the second did the opposite. We must first consider whether changing the material will affect the quality of the product in a way that the consumer does not accept. The first material may have unnecessarily superior specifications. We must look at our strategy: is it to sell at a low price or to offer high quality. We must look at different aspects.


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