In a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous business world decision making has emerged as a key management skill. Yet, despite the demand to move quickly just to keep pace with innovation and change, many leaders still find decision making processes challenging.
Nobody makes the right decision every time and many leaders just aren’t comfortable with the possibility of failure. From genuine indecision to procrastination, it can be difficult to lead a team, business or project to success with these blockers in place.
Through talking to some outstanding leaders in our network, we have curated the following quick tips for making faster, smarter decisions which yield better results for your projects, business and leadership style.
- Be both independent and collaborative
The best decision makers are the ones who seek thoughts from others in their decision-making process. They’re the leaders who surround themselves with great teams and who draw on their thinking to ultimately inform their decision. However, relying too heavily on others can lead to problems like groupthink. Great leaders don’t insist upon decision making by committee nor do they need everyone to be in agreement. The key here is to take in the information and act on it fast.
- Trust your gut
Making the right decision is often more about being intuitive than being analytic. Take appointing a new supplier to your business: you’ll be provided with facts and figures designed to inform and influence your decision, but the final choice often rests with how you feel about the situation. And, whilst it can be tempting to think you need to spend lots of time analysing information, sometimes a snap decision or choice driven by instinct will be the right one. Of course, relying solely on your gut can also be problematic, as work by behavioural scientists like Daniel Kahneman has demonstrated so convincingly, but 9 times out of 10 an experienced leader intuitively knows what to do.
- It doesn’t have to be perfect
Businesses are now agile and responsive. Situations are rarely perfect and most great leaders would rather get things done and manage the relatively low risk that comes with imperfection. Effective decision makers are comfortable to jump in and make a choice without all the answers, because they have the confidence in their people and processes to arrive at the right answer.
- It’s ok to make a mistake
In fact, it’s more than just ok, it’s inevitable. Poor decisions are made every day in business, large and small, the clincher is how you handle and respond to them. If you make a poor decision, admit it was a mistake and resolve it, your team will respect this approach. After all, the wrong decision is better than indecision.
- Switch off
Some decisions are big no doubt about it and take more thought than others. If your mind is whirring and you’re unable to come to a decision you’re happy with, it’s time to switch off. Just like those lightbulb moments in the middle of the night, the brain is pretty impressive at finding the right answer when you least expect it.
And finally one bonus tip, don’t over-think it, it’s important with every decision to take a moment to ask if it really is a meaningful decision and if it’s not, it’s time to make a judgement call and move onto the next thing.