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Hinges of Destiny: Decision-Making for Leaders

“Choices are the hinges of destiny.” Poet, Edwin Markham

4 advantages of being decisive:

#1. Speed.

Decisive leaders choose and move. They waste less time exploring options.

Action-oriented team members hate waiting for decisions.

#2. Clarity.

Clarity produces confidence. People like to know where they’re going.

#3. Learning.

Learning happens as you move forward if you remain open to new information.

#4. Momentum.

Momentum is a series of small wins.

It’s easier to roll the ball once it’s moving.

5 dangers of being too decisive:

#1. Limited participation.

People won’t tell you what they think if you’ve already made up your mind. Disengagement and lack of goal ownership result in disappointing performance.

#2. Devalued and disrespected people.

Respectful treatment of all employees at all levels was rated as the top contributor to overall employee satisfaction. (SHRM)

#3. Confirmation bias.

Confirmation bias down-plays new information.

Decisive leaders find reasons to justify decisions and minimize disconfirming information.

#4 Implemental mindset.

Decisive leaders tend to develop over-confidence once decisions are made.

You tend to underestimate the time and difficult of climbing hills that others climb, but you don’t. You also tend to over-estimate the abilities of others.

Frustration and disappointment set in when over-confidence under-estimates obstacles and downplays risk.

#5. Illusion of control.

Talking makes achievement seem easy, but action bursts the illusion of control.

Sitting around a table making decisions gives the impression of power. But it’s false. The people doing the work understand what it takes to achieve goals.

The illusion of control allows leaders to defend bad decisions.

4 decision-making tips:

  1. Force yourself to explore options when setting goals. Good decisions begin with multiple options.
  2. Eliminate options when implementing goals. You can’t do everything at once.
  3. Ask, “What might go wrong,” if you tend to make quick decisions.
  4. Plan goal-implementation WITH the people who do the work.

What’s dangerous about decisiveness?

What’s essential for good decision-making?

Bonus material:

Mindset Theory of Action Phases (Gollwitzer)

Four Ways to be Better at Making Snap Decisions Without Feeling Guilty (theMuse)


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