Decision making

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The way people approach decisions can affect the results they get. So, changing your decision making process can change your results. Leadership skills are linked to your decision making process; how do you decide which decisions to take now, think about, delegate or decide with others?

The introvert love of detail?

It’s often said that introverts have a tendency towards detail. If this tendency affects your decision making, should you change things? What steps can you take?

I read that Richard Branson’s advice on decision making is “Screw it, let’s do it.” Maybe all decisions made by business owners shouldn’t be that quick, but neither should your decision-making process be mired in detail or involve too many people in incomplete group decisions.

What can you do to prevent yourself from getting mired in detail? Time limiting the decision process, delegating, having a “buddy” advise you when you’re getting stuck, or recognising the signs yourself?

Effective decision making can involve accepting you don’t have all the information and can’t wait for the perfect outcome. That can be hard to accept, although important.

Decision making and effective leaders

Effective leaders decide which decisions to delegate, which decisions should be discussed, which they should simply make on their own and which should be put off for another day.

Decide quickly and tell

There are times when it’s important to decide and act. Call it ‘gut reaction’, call it whatever you like – but sometimes you need to decide and tell.

Introverts have these moments of clarity, in the same way as extroverts. A problem can be to then waver, push back and say things like “but I don’t want to upset….”. That may be true, but it is your business and running your business isn’t a democracy.

If it’s urgent, highly strategic, involves some level of confidentiality, you don’t need to consult all the time. Sometimes it’s important to decide and not wait for the team.

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Involving your team in the decision making process.

Of course, you want to help your team be motivated, feeling valuable and involved (that means making decisions)? So, at other times, you might:

  1. Delegate (they make the decision)
  2. Decide with them (jointly make the decision)
  3. Listen to their views and then you decide.

All three methods are valid. However, telling them up front which you’re doing can avoid upset and confusion. Many team problems I’ve seen are when the team think they’re deciding, and the leader thinks he was just consulting prior to making deciding himself.

What’s the time frame?

Having a wider range of views can help improve your decision (or theirs) but needs to balance against stagnation. You’ll choose which method, based on experience (you’rs and theirs), the risks (inaction can also be risky) and the time you’ve got.

Your indecision process?

Indecision can annoy staff and doesn’t move you forward. It can be a good idea to put a time limit on the decision making process and get on with it. If you can’t decide, need to move forward and the odds appear even, even tossing a coin or rolling the dice can be relevant.

Implementation

From your team’s perspective deciding and not implementing can be even worse than Two thoughts come to mind here:

“There is no such thing as a hard decision – when we think we have a hard decision to make it’s because we’ve already made the decision and don’t want to deal with (or don’t know how to handle) the consequences of that decision.”

and of course Branson’s

Screw it, just do it

can be relevant here.

The risk of doing nothing can be bigger than doing something and adjusting it later.

The decision making process is an important part of your business. You can inspire others with how you include them (and don’t), or you can leave them demoralised by an overly long decision making process that doesn’t even get implemented.

Your level of introversion / extroversion isn’t material being aware of its impact on your thinking and your team is important.

Decision making is about leadership. How do you decide which decisions to take now, think about, delegate, or decide with others?

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