The last couple of days seem to have centered around decision making. I’ve never understood people who find the process difficult or unpleasant. It’s what life is all about. Personal and business.
Yesterday evening I had been invited along to hear President GW Bush’s last Press Secretary when at the White House, Dana Perino, speak. She was enchanting. No other word for it. As the late summer, early evening breeze came in through the French windows of the Royal Automobile Club the distant noises of Mayfair gave way to the inner workings of the Oval Office.
Now this was a partisan audience so it would have been easy and forgiveable for her to dish out some red meat. But no Dana Perino focused on the man behind the Presidency and his values and commitment to making decisions with little regard to the short time effects on his popularity. Suffice to say I think the forthcoming crop of memoirs are going to be interesting.
Fastforward to this morning and on my morning flight to Zurich I caught up on another decision maker, Anna Wintour. Almost a week on from the Vogue Editor’s appearance on The David Letterman Show (a miserable and mediocre TV host in my opinion) is still being talked about. It seems to have been a slightly more humble performance than people were expecting but classic Wintour nonetheless. The Financial Times captured a perfect line “I am very decisive, I try and give very clear direction to the people I am working with. Sometimes, unfortunately, they don’t hear the answer they would like to hear.”
What a perfect description of decision making. It displays confidence, not arrogance. It suggests momentuam, focus, ownership and insight. And dare I say it, underlines the fact that decision making is rarely a democratic process.
The buck stops here. So said Truman. Be it the Oval Office, an Editor’s desk at No 4 Times Square or a humble workstation – decisions must be taken.
As for my personal decision to have a banana split, a coffee and a large beer as I watch trams and the River Limmat flow past as I write this entry, it wasn’t my best decision of the week but it is up there !