The Speeding Train

Decision making in an organisation is like a train passing through stations, picking up passengers along the way, all to be part of the journey towards reaching a destination.

But some trains pass through our station without even stopping. We patiently wait to get on so that we can have our say, but it flashes by, leaving us a bit dazed, confused, frustrated, and wondering why it didn’t stop for us. Sometimes we weren’t even at the station when it passed by. We wait for it to arrive, only realise that we missed it completely, leaving us to ask ourselves how we ended up in this situation.

A mistake we then make is expecting the train to come back and pick us up. Depending on your seniority, the size of the decision, and the size of the organisation, that might be possible. But many of us may have to scramble to catch up and jump on, hoping to influence a train already in motion, to only accept we have no say over where we’re going.

In larger organisations, many decisions will be made without our input. Being uninvolved makes us feel deflated as we wonder how we missed the train in the first place, why they never stopped for us, and who the hell is even driving the train in the first place. We throw our hands up and wonder why we even bother.

There will always be a set of decision-making that is out of our control. If someone a lot more senior wants something and I don’t have the political capital to influence the output, it may be in my best interest to just get on board and look for the opportunities the decision presents.

There will always be decisions that need challenging, and we should strive to challenge those that we feel strongly about. Especially any that cross our own moral or ethical values.

Some trains are fast, some trains are slow, some will stop for us, some won’t stop at all, and many trains we’ll never see or even know about, and then there will be trains that are our responsibility to drive. We can’t be on every train, so pick the ones worthy of your time and effort.