Make Decisions Effortlessly In Your Organisation

by: Doug Michaelides

Does your company or management team have trouble making decisions?  At the pace of business these days, an inability to make timely decisions can be fatal.  It can also be a cause of frustration for everyone involved (including employees counting on the management team for direction).

So why do smart people have problems making decisions?  Here are a few things to watch out for:

  1. Nobody’s in charge.  Is it clear who is responsible for the decision?  If not, endless debate can ensue without concrete actions.
  2. Too many cooks in the kitchen.  While everyone has an opinion, not all opinions must be considered equally.  One person can easily decide where to go for lunch.  Two people can probably negotiate an acceptable compromise.  Three people (or more) may end up going hungry for lack of consensus!
  3. Communication by email.  Email is often an enemy of communication since it is a linear process.  An email thread easily turns into a tangle of misunderstanding and asynchronous confusion particularly when multiple people are involved.  Email also lengthens the decision-making process because it is non-real-time.  Better to talk through a decision and then use email to document it.
  4. Seeking perfection.  Rarely is a decision a “life and death” matter.  The quality of a decision generally improves as more information is gathered up to a point of diminishing returns.  Most of the time it is better to err on the side of rapid action, before the window of opportunity closes, than to suffer the costs of dragging a decision on too long.  There will usually be a chance to optimize your decision later if necessary and there are certainly plenty more waiting to be made.  Who has the time and resources to linger painfully on each one?
  5.  It’s not a competition.  Most senior management teams are full of strong personalities.  Getting their way is how they’ve climbed to the top.  When group decision-making becomes a competition between personalities your management team is in trouble.  Even the smartest most talented managers need to know when to lead and when to follow.
  6. Commitment.  Making a decision involves taking a risk.  Not everyone is willing to put their reputation (and perhaps their job) on the line by taking a stand.  What about you?

Businesses and careers are powered by decisions.  Individuals and organizations that are unwilling or unable to make decisions will die a slow and painful death.  So, why not make the decision right now to create a culture of action within your management team?

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