For the last two-three months, quite a lot of my attention has been focused towards decision-making skills, how to develop these in myself and how to support others with developing them. Just after finishing my Master’s thesis focusing on supporting team leaders to develop leadership and facilitation skills, I received an opportunity to participate in a course held by Lectica™ focusing on their LDMA (Leadership Decision-Making Assessment) framework this fall.
Some personal background
When I first started studying five and a half years ago, the goal was to become a teacher educating kids and teenagers through the Norwegian educational system. What I found out during the first three years of my studies, was that the school subjects I graduated in (mathematics and social science) felt too narrow in scope for me to really get an interest for educating others. I mean, parts of the curriculum could be interesting and so on, but I could not help experiencing the feeling of being limited to a very small range of real-life contexts where the applied skills and knowledge could be utilized. I was demotivated by seeing how the schools and its personnel were clearly favoring the subject-specifics in the curriculum they were educating from. In other words, the bigger part of the education in focus was measuring and advocating for knowledge that I did not think was most useful for the kids to know in order to succeed in life.
In 2006, the Norwegian educational system took the first significant step towards a more integrated and sophisticated framework for public education. Through both national and international research, they had realized the need for every student to develop a certain number of core skills throughout the whole childhood and adolescent years (that corresponded with skills and competencies they needed in order to meet the requirements of the educational system in particular, but also society and life in general). These were argued as skills to be highlighted, applied and developed in every subject-specific part of the general curriculum.
It was through these core skills that I found the bigger connections and wider scope that I was looking for in terms of engaging my interest to the teacher profession. In addition to pedagogy and developmental psychology, these topics became the focal point for how I approached my own educational practice.
Back to Lectica™ and decision-making skills
I have noticed some great similarities between how Lectica™ treats decision-making and how the Norwegian Department of Education has advocated for treating education and learning. Just as there exists a fundamental set of core skills necessary for succeeding in any educational subject within the Norwegian curriculum, there exists a set of core skills necessary for succeeding with making good decisions in any context or situation. Both Lectica’s™ constructs and the Norwegian educational reform of 2006 reflect processes of highlighting competencies transferable between a range of different domains.
A starting point for understanding general skills for decision-making, is gaining awareness of the embedded complexity of any real-life situation. Here, Lectica™ uses the well-known VUCA term (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) for characterising today’s world. The different domains where Lectica’s basic skills for decision-making are relevant, represents any environment ranging between
constant ⇔ volatile
certain ⇔ uncertain
simple ⇔ complex
obvious ⇔ ambiguous
The message is that they have singled out certain skills transferable to any environment that can be pinpointed in the range between these characteristics.
So what exactly is the point?
When one has successfully pinpointed the necessary building blocks for succeeding in any particular domain, one could become extremely effective with learning and developing competencies required for making success in that domain. This becomes a very powerful construct when the domain in fous is any type of real life situation related to the notion of leadership. For instance, by knowing that facilitation skills are required for generating collaborative learning, I could start to focus my attention around inviting others to take part in my own and each others practice if I want collaborative learning to happen. By knowing that skills for seeing, seeking, and coordinating diverse perspectives are important for making good decisions, I could start focusing my personal activities for developing these particular skills – this will contribute positive to my overall decision making no matter what circumstances I am finding myself in.