4 Dos and Don’ts of Decision Making

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Indecision is better than risking the wrong decision, right? Well, if you’re dismantling a bomb or performing brain surgery, maybe. But, in the day-to-day of business, there are few upsides to dragging out your decision.

Why is indecisiveness a problem?

  • It bottlenecks progress.
  • It slows momentum.
  • It frustrates your teammates.
  • It resolves nothing.
  • It’s still a decision; you’re simply deciding not to decide.

But I really hate making mistakes! How do I avoid making the wrong decision? We’ll, you can’t avoid making the wrong call. In fact, in leadership you’ll make plenty wrong decisions.

Here’s what you should focus on not doing:

  1. Don’t force others to think for you by asking, “What should I do?” Instead, lead with your recommendation or thought process. Then ask, “What do you think?”
  2. Weigh the consequences, but don’t dwell on 100 unlikely “What if’s.” Every decision comes with a measure of risk.
  3. Don’t give excuses or shift the blame if you make the wrong call.
  4. Don’t make weighty decisions when you’re emotional or in bad mood.

So, what should you do?

  1. Do ask for your leader’s perspective or the perspective of a trusted colleague or two on what you plan to do.
  2. Do weigh the consequences of indecision. (Will anything change or improve? Likely not.)
  3. Do own your decisions – both good and bad – and learn what you will do differently next time.
  4. Do strive for consistency in your decision-making. It’s how your teammates learn your thought process.

In the end, if you have a vision for the future or for what success looks like you will most likely be making decisions that move you forward. Not having this makes you indecisive. That’s dangerous for the company and for those who follow you. If there is one thing to be sure of it’s what you want things to be like when you’re finished. Every leader make wrong or bad decisions. Great leaders correct those decisions; bad ones don’t.

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