Decision-making is one of the critical leadership skills for executives as they continue to be promoted within an organization. Unfortunately, lots of leaders you come across are weak in that area. Weak decisions at the top will sap the strength out of an entire organization’s corporate DNA. Don’t let fear of deciding paralyze you into being a do-nothing procrastinator…a weak leader afraid that you might make the wrong decision. As my dad always told me, “Indecision is a decision!” I’ve taken that advice to heart over the years as I moved into higher leadership roles where I had to draw a line in the sand and make decisions to rapidly move the dial and achieve my expected outcomes.
If you tend to procrastinate and overthink your leadership decisions it’s like waking up to the smell of smoke. You lay there in bed, wondering why there’s a fire starting downstairs. Did you leave the oven on after dinner, or a candle burning in the dining room? Maybe the dog dropped a newspaper too close to the space heater, or could it be that the wiring in your walls fried-out because of that new flat-screen TV you installed? Turn off those useless thoughts and make the one correct decision…to act fast, before it’s too late…for your sake and the benefit of everyone else under your roof who shares those vital strands of DNA.
The 3 Fear Factors in Decision-Making
What I’ve found over the years, coaching leaders to make better and more strategic decisions, is that what holds impairs their quick decisiveness is three things: 1) Insecurity about whether they have all information they need to make the right decision. 2) Fear of risk or criticism, which leads to making excuses, delaying the inevitable responsibility, and wasting everyone’s time instead of making a leadership decision. 3) Worry about what will happen after they decide…as that preoccupation with overthinking their decision kills the momentum and reduces the chance that they will achieve the desired result in time to be successful. With that in mind, I developed my own RAPID formula – a 5-step approach that will enable you to avoid those pitfalls and be a more confident, respected, and performance-oriented leader.
R – Reach out to your collaborative team for input.
Ask your team for input on critical facts, informative research, and helpful information before you make a decision. Encourage them to bring forward their innovative ideas, figures, insights, and analysis, and inclusively consider all the relevant information. Then give yourself enough time to process all of that and apply your own strategic thinking – but don’t lose focus or delay. Make a prompt and educated decision.
A – Assess the calculated risks of the decision.
Weigh the pros and cons of any consequences or outcomes that will result from your decision. But just because it may carry some risk, remember that there may be greater risk in being indecisive. Some of the greatest leadership decisions involve carefully calculated risks, particularly if you want to be a bold innovator.
P – Plan on expected outcomes.
There is no point in making a decision unless you are first clear on what the expected outcomes are. Leadership decisiveness is more than just problem solving. Think with a bigger lens, in terms of what you can do to improve productivity and performance and to reach a level significantly higher than where you were before. Consider how the decision will build your organization and how it can weave the corporate DNA shared by your team, your division, and your strategic partners.
I – Influence others to follow your decision.
Influence is the ability to motivate and inspire people to take action. In order to influence those around you it’s important that explain the “why” behind your decision. Why is it important for the organization? What’s in it for everyone around you? Be sure you communicate those answers in a style that resonates with them and showcases specific, tangible benefits that will help them professionally and personally.
D – Drive for Results
Once the decision is made start driving results. Listen, look, and analyze the progress being made. As things move forward, stay flexible to adapt to unforeseen changes or opportunities. If you need to regroup and revise, do it. Don’t hesitate because if you are making a mistake it will only multiply the adverse outcome across the DNA strands. Once you’ve resolved the issue, get back on track without delay.
As a decisive leader you will feel more confident and those you lead will perceive you that way, which makes your job that much easier. They’ll feel included and every employee loves a leader who makes them feel appreciated as an integral participant helping the whole team achieve greatness