Reframing Responsible Decision-Making

Posted March 7, 2024 | Leadership |
Reframing Responsible Decision-Making

Thanks to new research, a graduate education course at a leading Canadian business school is reframing responsible decision-making. Rather than focusing on theoretical discussions or creating a checklist of to-dos, the course “Leading Responsibly” at the Ivey Business School teaches individuals to become more responsible by helping them unpack their lived experiences. This Advisor shares key insights from the course.

Key Insights

After several years of teaching the course, we’ve gained insight into multiple issues relevant to educators and mentors. For example, young professionals regularly express fear of “rocking the boat” too early in their careers. Counteracting this is a matter of reinforcing the idea that having a responsible mindset is the first in a spectrum of actions they can take. Being strategic involves considering an array of next steps and possible consequences, including engaging in conversation with members of a safe network, researching best practices, and identifying and offering alternatives. Although whistleblowing or quitting are also options, it is important to present these as being on the far end of the spectrum, not a go-to.

We have also discovered the importance of self-disclosure. Asking others to do the emotional, challenging work related to building character dimensions and understanding the consequences of taking the road less traveled requires vulnerability from the educator or mentor. Practicing humility, sharing your own story, discussing how you have invested in a support system, and relating how you have succeeded and failed forward set the stage for a safe, collaborative learning environment.

Finally, we learned to meet participants where they are. Experiential learning is predicated on individuals making meaning from what is offered, and life/work circumstances impact the pace, timing, and depth of individual engagement. As educators and leaders, imagine yourselves as gardeners creating a safe, healthy place for growth. You must cultivate the space and actively feed the ideas you see germinating. Allow each seed to follow its own path. Some will sprout immediately; others will take longer. Appreciate the efforts made, knowing that, for some, it may only be in the longer term that these ideas and practices will blossom.

[For more from the author on this topic, see: “Moving Toward More Responsible Decision-Making.”]

About The Author
Kanina Blanchard
Kanina Blanchard is Assistant Professor of General Management and Communications at Ivey Business School, Western University, Canada, where she is also Academic Director for CEMS Alliance. Dr. Blanchard has extensive experience working in international business, the public service, nonprofit, and consulting. With over 35 years’ global experience, she combines practical, dynamic expertise with extensive research and academic credentials,… Read More