Would Someone Please Make a Decision

The dictionary for leaders series landed on “D” this morning. Leaders make decisions.

Frustrated readers complain about leaders who won’t make decisions.

Effective decisions are tipping points where talk becomes action.

Action creates responsibility.


7 consequences of not making decisions:

  1. Motivation declines. Why bother?
  2. Talent checks out. (Literally or figuratively)
  3. Frustration escalates.
  4. Progress stops.
  5. Politics and distraction take over.
  6. Resources are squandered.
  7. Busy work dominates. People start circling their navels.

Highly political leaders don’t make decisions when responses are uncertain.

Seven strategies of making decisions in uncertain situations:

  1. Let everyone know you are in learn as you go mode.
  2. Dedicate a minimum of resources. Don’t bet the farm until you’re 80% sure you’ll win. (Level of certainty depends in large part on organizational culture.)
  3. Evaluate frequently and aggressively. What’s working?
  4. Honor learning. What are we learning?
  5. Adapt quickly. Stop doing what doesn’t work.
  6. Minimize damage if things go wrong.
  7. Take responsibility. Avoid blame.
  8. Celebrate progress frequently and briefly. What’s next?
  9. Decide to delay but explain why.
  10. During delay, reach for new goals or engage in related activities.

Two lousy decisions:

People decisions based on too much hope result in regret. Don’t expect people to magically develop competence. A track record of disappointment predicts a disappointing future if you continue on the same path.

Gut decisions when you don’t have experience are disasters. When you don’t have experience in marketing, for example, don’t go with your gut. Go with those who have been where you want to go.

29 Leadership “D” words from Leadership Freaks on Facebook:

  1. Dare.
  2. Danger.
  3. Decide.
  4. Dedication.file000931708673
  5. Define.
  6. Delay.
  7. Delegate.
  8. Deliberate.
  9. Delivery.
  10. Demonstrate.
  11. Dependable.
  12. Desire.
  13. Develop.
  14. Devote.
  15. Dig-deep.
  16. Diligent.
  17. Dependable.
  18. Diplomacy.
  19. Designate.
  20. Determined.
  21. Direct.
  22. Discipline.
  23. Discover.
  24. Disrupt.
  25. Do.
  26. Downtime.
  27. Dream.
  28. Dumb-ass.
  29. Dynamic.

What decision-making suggestions can you offer?

Which leadership “D” words are important to you? Why?