Decisions, decisions, decisions
Slow decision making is seen as weak leadership. True or False?
People make comments like “Well, at least he makes decisions” as if any decision is better than none.
And once a decision is made, woe betide the leader who changes his or her mind.
No matter that new facts have come to light, or that certain information was deliberately withheld, leaders who change their minds are incompetent in the eyes of many.
So getting the balance right between sourcing all the relevant facts to make a decision, and not waiting so long that you are seen to be a procrastinator, is not easy.
And allowing yourself to be forced into decision making because of outside opinion is also not a great choice.
Leaders have to accept early in their careers that popularity based on decisions made should not be a goal. It can be a nice side effect as long as you realise that it will only be a small group that like most of your decisions, and a much larger one that believes they could do it better.
Watch a sports game with supporters from both teams on the field, and you will quickly see that it is only decisions that favour your side that gain you popularity………..
In any legal process, there is the option of an appeal.
In business, life and politics, we do not easily grant ourselves that same right.
If people who have studied the law believe that the verdict of one person (plus assessors or jury) is not always enough, surely the rest of us should be equally balanced.
Of course, there is always the risk of constantly second guessing yourself and never moving forward.
One of the ways we manage this at +Accsys is to use the Decision Tree and divide our decisions into leaf, branch, trunk and root levels. Leaf being easy to make, not requiring consultation or follow up, all the way down to root, where the decision will set precedents, and is a consultative one. (Susan Scott).
Most importantly, if you feel you have made the wrong decision, STOP the process. (Slow down, Think, Observe, Proceed), re-evaluate, garner new information, and then make a new decision. You might even go back to your first one, but with much more confidence that it is right.
I keep the STOP sign on a door in my office to remind me not to rush into decisions nor to draw hasty conclusions. We also have copies of the Decision Tree at various places in the building. Neither always work, but they are great reminders.
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