The Point: If you’re a leader undoubtedly you’ve come to the decision tree in the process map of leadership several times… Decide correctly and fame/fortune await you, but decide incorrectly and failure awaits. In this post, we’ll examine the leadership challenge of poor decisions and provide 5 tips to help decide correctly… Enjoy!
Ready, Fire, Aim!
Meet Jane, a mid-level executive for an Inc 500 company that oversees operations. Since joining the company (she’s approaching year 4), the organization has seen tremendous growth. Part of this growth initiative is the result of Jane making what she calls good “strategic decisions” in her role. The nature of these strategic decisions stem from a similar fashion of how the CEO of the organization makes his (Think of these as “Ready, Fire, Aim!” strategic decisions… Or decisions made without any strategic-orientation whatsoever!)
The organization has grown to a size now though that requires a much more strategic oversight. With a 4x growth in employees, approaching 2x growth in customer base, and the inevitable IT support required the future simply will not allow for poor decisions, let alone poor execution of those decisions.
Perfect Solution or Perfect Right Now Solution?
So Jane is challenged with the decision-making that takes place in the organization. On the one hand, she knows that she can do better (She did so in her previous role/organization, which she’ll be the first to admit was 10x more professional and had a rather litigious corporate counsel act as compliance officer for the operation). On the other hand, she somewhat enjoys the Ready, Fire, Aim! decision making process. The benefits as she sees them are less bureaucracy, time consumption, and simple stress associated with conducting due-diligence required to explore decision contingency plans.
A Machiavellian cavalier attitude prevails resting on Occam’s Razor theory, where you can do what you want, when you want and simplicity rules the day. This is what she’s seen the CEO do successfully since joining the organization, and other leaders replicate/follow suit with little/no failure repercussions.
5 Tips to Better Decision Making
But the times, they are a changing. Expectations are higher and as one of the organization’s only female leaders Jane needs to make her best decisions. She’s previously been “called out” for making less than favorable decisions in the past (Read that as the “Good Old Boys” club didn’t like them). The following 5 tips serve to provide you, the leader that might find themselves in similar Jane-like shoes, with decision making guidance:
Tip #5 – Take It Easy
Stress is the enemy of good decision making. Take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, and clear your head. Once you’re in a better position/situation then begin to examine your decision making next steps.
Tip #4 – Take a Step Back
What should you consider that will make your decision the best one possible, aligning with mission, vision, values of your organization. There should be a litmus test applied for each decision that is to be made, starting with taking the biggest picture possible before zeroing in on details.
Tip #3 – Take Data Into Account
Figures don’t lie, but liars figure… Take data that you can trust into account when determining future courses. If you can’t get insight/perspective yourself, call on others to help.
Tip #2 – Decide!
You know that your decision is not going to materialize without a strict action planning process that includes a date which decision is to be made. Establish this target and then move aggressively towards achieving it.
Tip #1 – Follow-Up/Follow-Through with Commitments
You made a decision, so now oversee the implementation/installation of the engagement. While some leaders would look at this as job completed in status, know that it is only the beginning stages of a successful initiative (With much more work to be done in order to be successful!)
In this post we’ve examined the leadership challenge of poor decisions and provided 5 tips for the leader looking to make their best decisions. Leadership is a difficult job at times, and poor decisions typically upon autopsy provide insight into what should be done next time through learning.