Every once in a while we see a leader making a huge decision. We may not like it or believe in it but there it is, splashed on the headlines or announced at the town hall meeting.
If you worked for Pfizer Corporation in Ann Arbor Michigan 10 or so years back when they announced the shutdown of all facilities in that city setting 10,000 employees out of work, you may have wondered why. If you worked for Target Canada in early 2015 you might have wondered why.
Decisions are made every day affecting hundreds, thousands and even millions of people and we often wonder what went into the decision making process. Were they crazy?
Great leaders should know how to use good judgement and make good decisions. This is an attribute that seems to be often overlooked as a key ingredient to leadership success.
So what goes into sound decision making?
First of all, I think the most important part of sound decision making, is the strength to stand by your decision. Once you make it you need to own it. For that to happen, a leader needs to apply a process that will stand up to the scrutiny of people and time.
Preparation. Decision making must involve the time and process to evaluate the facts, explore the options, analyse the risks and predict the outcome. In most cases, input is solicited from others, data is analysed and facts are reviewed. It is vital that a leader be able to say in the end that he/she did everything to ensure a sound decision was made.
The Call. Once you have weighed all the facts and details you will make the call. This step is as important as the Preparation. Your community needs to hear the news or decision. You need to deliver with authority, strength and empathy.
The Execution. Having a plan to back up the decision is critical and this follow-through will make or break all of the preparation that has come before. I can think of some great decisions made with the right research and information, made with authority and fairness, but executed poorly. Great leadership sees a decision through to execution.
Having said all of this, it is important to note that not all decisions are the right ones in the end. Great leaders know this but they are willing to take the risk of being wrong. If they followed these three steps to good decision making and judgement they will be able to stand up to the people and to time and say we made the decision after the right amount of preparation, we made the call well and we executed on the plan as promised.
images provided courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net