I’d like a second opinion

Photo courtesy of Massey (Creative Commons)

Photo courtesy of Massey (Creative Commons)

I have a friend who is having some health issues, and his specialist has ordered a battery of rather complicated tests, even while he admits that he thinks the problem is elsewhere.

My friend is seeking a second opinion so that he can get a clearer picture of what his options are before undergoing these potentially unnecessary tests that will likely just confirm that his symptoms are related to a different diagnosis.

It is critical to have a clear picture of the problem so you can calmly and logically consider all your options for treatment, and that means looking at the condition from different perspectives and directions.

This same process should be used in business as well, but too often, we go barreling down a path without stopping for a second opinion. Assumptions can be dangerous, and if we think we know why sales are down without looking at the entire situation, we may craft a solution that just makes the problem worse. Reorganizing your staff’s duties without thoroughly considering all the implications can just create additional issues of confusion and oversight.

In a cost-cutting effort at one company I worked for, a rash decision was made to cut out a level of supervisory positions without considering the strengths and skills needed for the newly created positions. The consideration across the board was an arbitrary rating system based on most recent performance appraisal rather than suitability for the new position. As jobs were dissolved and people reassigned many were set up for failure. Had the decision-makers sought another opinion about the situation, those types of oversights might have been avoided and the move could have been a more positive one for the company.

Spend more time analyzing the situation before acting, so that you can make an informed decision that will address all the issues at hand. Be sure to:

  • Pull together a team of people, including some who work behind the scenes, who are familiar with the nuts and bolts of the business to help you brainstorm.
  • Take the time to review the circumstances, and look at all the options, even the ones that might seem illogical at first.
  • Understand how any changes will affect your processes and framework so you don’t create another set of problems.

Once you have considered all of your options, you will be able to make an informed decision that will improve the situation and get the business, or your health, back on track.

What situations are you currently facing in which you should seek a second opinion?