“Decide well in the midst of a crisis situation …”

Interview. Dominique Duquesnoy, CEO of PerformanSe: “Deciding well in the midst of a crisis …”

Deciding well is never easy, especially in a major crisis situation, as now with COVID-19. Despite everything, and in order to think about the appropriate means to make the best possible decisions, we chose to interview Dominique Duquesnoy, CEO of PerformanSe, who shared his analysis and his experience with us.

Question. Is it always difficult to make a decision?

Reply. Almost always, because often a key bet influences the decisions which commit us for the future. We never know in advance what will happen next, especially since we live in a constantly moving world, and the fact that others are making other decisions that will also affect the outcome. But in any case, even if it’s difficult, I think it’s always important to dare to decide. Better to live in disappointment than to repent!

Q. Why is this issue even more sensitive in times of crisis?

A. The pressure that goes with it! And it affects the manager more than usual. We ask you to find out about the situation and we hope you will clarify it immediately for us, to reassure us. Authority bias tends to increase, we expect more from the “boss” and under pressure, the risk of making mistakes is greater … You have to know how to resist, take your time and stay calm …

Q. What needs to be done to better process the decisions that will be made?

A. First of all, you have to look for new ideas; above all to respond to the natural confirmation bias, accentuated by the anxiety born of the crisis. On the contrary, it is time – due to an unprecedented situation – to seek out new information, new sources, making sure that they are relevant and up to date. Hence also the importance of developing a divergent thought …

Q. What do you mean by “divergent thinking” at this point?

A. I think that in a crisis it is even more important to move away from the usual thought patterns. Since there is a greater risk, let alone conformism, that the group will regain calm by resorting to familiar positions. However, when we talk about crisis, we are also talking about novelty. Why not also look for “cognitive conflict” in this way? Promote exchanges and debates with different people who do not think like us? Inside or outside the company? To find new certainties …

Q. But what happens when the decision has already been made?

A. The decision must also be considered in its entirety. In fact, it is essential to be able to make the whole process explicit; that is to say both the underlying logic of analysis and the implementation devices and the associated positive narrative. Whether they agree or not, each of the interlocutors involved must understand what is at stake, how and why the manager has taken this position and what it means.

Q. Do you have one last piece of advice?

A. I would gladly suggest that in a crisis situation it is important to do everything possible to reduce complexity. Since there is already so much uncertainty around us, now is not the time to accumulate more. Acting correctly also means knowing how to operate easily, get back to basics and simplify processes. Crises often bring us back to basics.

Quote: Acting correctly also means knowing how to operate easily, get back to basics, simplify processes. Crises often bring us back to basics.

In summary, faced with the crisis:

1. Look for new sources of inspiration

2. Develop divergent thinking

3. Make decisions explicit

4. Simply act!

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