Making decisions is at the heart of leadership – a decision made by a small group of people, or even a single individual, can have significant consequences for many many people, it can determine the success or failure of whole organisations, and shows your customers and partners what you truly value. We’ve experienced this first hand when a client took a difficult decision that meant rejecting a short term opportunity that wasn’t aligned to their values – it clearly confused a number of employees (it was a great opportunity), but it gave the organisation hard evidence that they needed to show how committed they were to living their values.
There are many factors that play into decision making – who makes which decision, how do those decisions get made, how quickly should decisions be made, how and when should data be used, how do you get decisions to stick. Decision making is indeed the hardest work.
Making and sticking to decisions will be an essential multiplier of your strategies and plans. Creating a strategy that uses data to identify your priorities and give you clarity on where you should be placing your bets is vital – but making decisions that are ineffective or made in an untimely manner will undermine your efforts to deliver.
Execution is everything, and that starts with decision making.
So how do we make decisions?
Establish who decides what
Making decisions is made up of a number of steps which may vary depending on the nature of the decision, but for key strategic decisions you need to be 100% clear on the following:
Who needs to be consulted before the decision is made?
And who is responsible for actually making the decision?
Be clear about how decisions are made
Wherever possible, there needs to be a clear view on what is required in order to make the decision. For any upcoming decisions – check if you have the following in place:
– A clearly defined process for how decisions are made
– An agreed set of criteria on which to base the decision
– The data to support the decision
– You have explored all the possible options
– As a group, you’re all clear on what the recommendation is
Allow for disagreement -to a point – but then ensure commitment
It’s ok for there to be conflicting views on approaches, and subsequently, decisions; but once a decision has been made, the team must commit and stand by the decision 100%. If they don’t, not only will you have wasted the time taken to get to the decision in the first place, but also the chosen option is far more likely to fail if the decision is unpicked and ignored.