5 Power Tips for Powerful Decisions
Frustration, fear, and stagnation are the result of not making decisions. How many times have you heard, “My boss can’t make a decision.” But, leaders who make rash decisions lose credibility.
Success depends on decisions that drive useful behaviors.
5 causes of bad decisions:
- Over-optimism. Prepare for the worst, not the best.
- Personal agendas.
- Emotion: Short-term perspectives tend toward emotion; long-term toward thinking.
5 Power Tips for Powerful Decisions:
It doesn’t matter how decisive you are, if your team isn’t with you.
The power of decisions is multiplied by the number of people who buy-in. Foot-dragging, second-guessing, and sabotage weaken decisions.
Forget about coercion; think buy-in.
If you want them engaged after the decision, engage them in the decision-making process. Engaging others isn’t consensus decision-making. Make people feel heard and they’re more likely to embrace your decision, even if they disagree.
Get buy-in from key players before going public.
#2. Input not consensus:
Engage people in gathering data, offering perspectives, and making suggestions, but make your own decisions. Ask things like:
- What matters?
- What options are available?
- What could go wrong?
- Who might have experience in this area?
- How do mission, vision, and values inform this decision?
When seeking input, relieve pressure by using the impersonal plural. What option(s) are available?
Avoid asking, “What would you do?”
Expand perspective on decisions by asking:
- In 10 minutes, how will we feel about this decision?
- In 10 months?
- In 10 years?
Imagine you’ve made the decision. Use 10-10-10.
(From the book: 10-10-10, by Suzy Welch.)
#4. Sleep on it:
Make the decision and go to bed. Don’t go to sleep mulling over options. Imagine the decision is made.
Go public only after sleeping on it.
#5. Flag-pole it:
Test decisions by running them up the flagpole with coaches, confidants, or outsiders. “I intend to….” What opportunities, obstacles, or strategies arise?
What causes bad decisions?
What decision-making tips help leaders make good decisions?
Bad decisions comes from many aspects, lack of experience, lack of education, pour guidance, lack of confidence, for fear of being judged if we make a mistake and I’m sure the list can be expounded upon. The most difficult piece is not to dwell, make your decisions on your best wealth of knowledge and when in doubt seek others whom you trust to help you.
After all, we are human and history has proven we all can make pour decisions at one time or another in life for various reasons..
Thanks Tim. Once again, I feel compassion in you comment. You encourage us not to second guess. Make a thoughtful decision and face forward.
Thanks Dan, compassion has developed through my life’s trials and tribulations as most of us have experienced second guessing issues. Looks like I need to start proof reading my typing better too “poor” oops!
Good morning Dan;
Hope your smiling a bit brighter after yesterdays visit to the Dentist. (‘Yucky-doo’)
Lots of great points in today’s blog. Power Tip #1- (Buy in), I couldn’t agree more with your advice. A Leaders enthusiasm & decisiveness is admirable and necessary. However, for organizations to achieve and maintain success in today’s marketplace, the Leader must engage his people early, and often. This gives your people more of a sense of ownership in your organization especially when leaders humbly consider others comments, concerns, and constructive criticisms.
Power Tip #4-(Sleep on it). I can remember many times in my past, when time constraints and over-zealousness forced a rush to pass judgement on an issue quickly and take action. Only to later realize that in my haste to resolve & solve, I hadn’t considered all relevant data, nor did I allow time to reveal the special nuances and circumstances that required consideration. Life lessons are the best teachers.
Power Tip #5- (Run it up the flag-pole) It just makes good sense. In my experience,there are very few problem, decisions, or actions that a Leader is required to face, that haven’t been faced before. Achieving ‘and sustaining success’ in today’s marketplace is NOT easy. Leaders with the integrity to admit “they don’t know it all”, have an advantage over those who won’t. True Leaders seek the knowledge and experience of other leaders who’ve been where they are going.
You know Dan one thing is certain. The more I study and learn about Leadership, the more I realize I need to study and learn more about Leadership.
Gota go have some Lab work done. Next Tuesday is my Surgery.
Thanks SGT. I’m glad you appreciate the importance of buy-in. It seems that decision-making models often leave this component out of the mix. When that happens, I think, What’s the Point.
What’s the point of making a great decision when others don’t get on board. There is a component of selling in good decision-making. I think engaging people early and often is a powerful selling tool that helps them buy-in after the decision is made.
There are times you do need to get consensus (or at least broad awareness and understanding of the pros/cons in advance), such as when you are changing the primary tool that a whole department spends a majority of their day on.
However, at times decisions can be made quickly by the leader with minimal input. The key is to recognize when adjustments need to be made or the decision even reversed if the plan hits hiccups you don’t have a contingency for. Sticking to a decision just because it’s you want to appear a “confident” leader is reprehensible.
Thanks James. I’m glad you brought up consensus decisions. There’s a time a place for this approach. Perhaps a rule of thumb could be, “The bigger the impact of a decision the more people need to be involved.”
This is where I find Vroom & Yetton’s Model so practical- can’t believe giving the wikipedia link! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vroom–Yetton_decision_model
Dan – Thoughts you inspired today that I wanted to “flag-pole” by you, as – after reading your posts for 2 years – I consider you a coach and mentor… Today’s post reminded me that the only weapon that fights fear is reason. Not just logic, which is mathematical and without emotion. Reason is rational thought informed by motivation, which is driven by emotion. Reason generates solutions that take our hopes, fears and frustrations into account. When we allow reason to lead us, we grow.
Hi, Dan. Great piece. The distinction between input and consensus is an important one. When a leader engages a team for their input, the team needs to understand at the outset who the decision maker is going to be. This is key for two reasons. First, it sets expectations appropriately. Second, a meeting seeking input would be structured entirely differently from one seeking consensus from a facilitation standpoint.
Our CEO says, “You have a say but not a vote” and that makes perfect sense to me. He wants our input but we all know that the final decision rests with him.
From that standpoint at least he shoulders the load and perhaps your ideas will be rewarded someday. He is building a quality team seeking your inputs too!
The good thing is that he has clarified the roles up front.
Bimuse, Kapow, Clarity is a great feeling leaves no doubts!
A really good book on this decision-making stuff is Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking, Fast and Slow” where he goes into how people think and ways to improve it. Research-based and interesting.
Judges in Israel made much different (and objectively better) decisions when their blood sugar was high, like right after lunch or after a sugar-drink. Measureably!
We TEND to think “System 1” which is snap decisions because it is ecologically less costly.
A bat and a ball cost $1.10. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much is the ball?
Snap. And you come up with ten cents. Consider and you discover the actual answer of five cents… But taking the time to think it through costs more biological energy, and we are geared not to spend energy in thinking.
I am also a big fan of the designated Devil’s Advocate, whose role is to look at things from the controversial and opposite positions, just to add perspective. Makes for better overall understanding and fewer “un-anticipated consequences/” (Note: Lawyers say that there is no such thing and that every result can and should be anticipated.)
Have fun out there!
I’m an education coach and not a business coach. As such the 10-10-10 from Suzy Welch is new to me. But I like it very much. As an educator coach (of sorts), I’m thinking that that having 10-10-10 exercises in class on projects is a great way to have student teams gain good insight for making good decisions.
I strongly feel that 10-10-10 should refer to 10 minutes, 10 days and 10 weeks (months at a push) – in 10 years most decisions we make in business will be irrelevant or forgotten…
“Sleeping on it” takes a lot of self-discipline sometimes. But it’s true that if something really is a good idea, it will still seem like a good idea tomorrow, or the next day. That keeps the emotions out of it and inspires more respect and collaboration, rather than cynicism or downright contempt from the ranks.