Making Sound and Timely Decisions: Leadership Principle #2
The premise behind this leadership principle is simple.
Don’t let simplicity fool you. It doesn't mean it’s always easy to put into action.
Let’s start by breaking the concept into two parts. Make sound decisions, and make them timely.
Making sound decisions
Sound decisions are based on facts, not assumptions, emotions or hearsay and must be approached logically.
Rumours around the office can wreak havoc on company morale and performance. They can fire up emotions and send a company into a tailspin if not handled quickly with sound reasoning.
Validate assumptions and concerns and commit to getting facts before sharing what you’ve heard further or doing anything in response to them. Take the time to ask questions to figure out if the facts line up or are logical before deciding how to proceed.
Making timely decisions is a bit trickier
Timely does not always mean immediately. For example, if you are speaking at an event or hosting a webinar, it is timely to have your presentation prepared and rehearsed before your presentation time. It does not mean you must decide how the animation of your presentation should flow the moment you confirm the event date. In this case, timely means, the most opportune or logical time to make a decision.
There will also be instances where timely does mean immediately.
When making a decision too early or too late can negatively affect the outcome
Using our speaking event as an example again, choosing your topic before you know who your audience is, could be a futile exercise. You’ll likely revise what you want to share to cater to the needs of your audience once it’s confirmed. Likewise, if your topic contains rare or hard-to-find facts, then finalizing your topic too late may limit your research capacity.
Timely decisions need to be made in the right sequence. Making a decision before you have the necessary facts can you leave you guessing; making a decision too late, can often limit your options.
Some people struggle to make decisions because they are not prepared to tackle the consequences their decision will create, so they put decision-making off.
Some people simply procrastinate
If you struggle with making decisions, try making a plan to see how your options could play out. Map out the steps that would follow your various options and what is needed to support each of your possible decisions—it will make it easier to decide which path to take, and what is or is not feasible.
Asking for help can also build confidence in your ultimate decision. You wouldn’t choose to invest your money without properly researching or consulting a professional for his or her advice, so it makes no sense to also approach significant business decisions with facts and advice.
Many books speak to the effectiveness of making decisions promptly, the most famous of which is “Blink.” In it, theorists believe a bad decision made quickly is better than a good decision that comes too late.
We tend to agree, but know it is just as important to make good decisions quickly when possible.
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Download this guide as a great starting point.
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