In my last posting, we explored the business of decision-making.  Great leaders know how to make decisions logically and in a timely manner.

In post #1, I suggested that good decision making requires:

  • Solid research
  • A good evaluation of all the options
  • Decisiveness

A recent article by Har­vey Schachter offers two more decision making tips:

  • “Don’t get hung up in your views of how things “should” be be­cause you will miss out learn­ing how they re­ally are.”
  • “…re­mem­ber that you’re look­ing for the best an­swer overall, not sim­ply the best an­swer you can come up with your­self.”

Both tips suggest we need to work out our decisions in a group, consulting with others and coming up with a consensus.  But many will argue that this process can be stifling, time consuming and often lead us down a path that is too safe, too normal and possibly wrong.

It is very hard to satisfy everyone all the time. And the more you suggest that everyone has a say in the decision, the more you will leave a part of your audience very disappointed.

And so, Mr. Schachter ­did some digging and came up with a policy from the Creo Prod­ucts Ltd. employee handbook.

“Employ­ees were treated as pres­i­dents of their own work: If the de­ci­sion was small, af­fect­ing only the de­ci­sion maker, or if a quick de­ci­sion was needed, they were in­structed to de­cide on their own. If the num­ber of peo­ple af­fected was small but the im­pact large, con­sen­sus was ad­vised, with ev­ery­one fol­low­ing an ‘I can live with this’ rule. If the im­pact was small but the num­ber of peo­ple af­fected large, decisions were to be made demo­crat­i­cally with the ma­jor­ity rul­ing. If the de­ci­sion’s im­pact was large and the num­ber of peo­ple af­fected was also large, a small group should be formed to ham­mer out a con­sen­sus, with in­put from all af­fected share­hold­ers.”

“That fo­cuses on the sit­u­a­tion,” he goes on to say, “im­pact and peo­ple af­fected – rather than the bril­liance of one in­di­vid­ual”.

Having said all of that, leaders need to make decisions effectively. If it requires group input, it should be obvious to the leader. If it requires a single-minded, stand-alone approach – this should also be clear. 

Leadership is not easy.  Neither is decision making.  Maybe this will help.

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