The Point: We all make thousands of decisions daily. Take for instance your drive into work today; Did you take the same route as you always do? Did you take the road less traveled? Would you alter routes if you heard about the accident ahead that has traffic snarled to a stand still? My point is that decisions are everywhere, but there are some decisions that should have tremendously more weight assigned to them as a leader (Should we acquire our competitor as part of our growth strategy? Is our CXO really the best CXO we could have? Etc.) With all these decisions to be made as a leader, we started thinking at Tip of the Spear Ventures and The Javelin Institute, is our decision-making process the best that it could be? In making decisions, are we really asking the right questions at the right time? So, in this post we’ll explore the leadership challenge of decision-making and provide three tips… Enjoy!
Caution – Decision-Making Zone Ahead!
The University of North Carolina recently conducted research on decision-making as part of a study. Their conclusion was that the typical adult makes on average 35,000 decisions each and every day. These decision-making opportunities range from the simple (Should I brush my teeth or don’t brush my teeth?) to the complex (Who am I and what do I stand for?) 35,000 decision-making moments each day… Researchers at Cornell University estimate we make 226.7 decisions each day on food alone!
If there are 24-hours in a day, and the average person sleeps (or is supposed to sleep) for eight of those 24-hours, that leaves 16 wide-awake decision-making hours. The math boils down to 2,188 decisions to be made every hour, and roughly 36 every minute. That’s a lot of decision-making opportunities!
Are Autopsies Enough?
If you’ve followed me for some time, or even if you haven’t, I believe that decisions should be reviewed afterwards in autopsy-like fashion. The reason for these decision-making autopsies is to identify if in the given moment, with the facts as we knew them, if the appropriate decisions were made. If they were, great! If they weren’t, what better decision could have been made?
I’ve worked with thousands of leaders around the globe on this post-mortem autopsy analysis over the years, but is it enough?
I recently was working with a leader on their decision-making abilities. They were labeled within their respective organization as a leader that was “Rarely in doubt, but often wrong!” Convinced that they were in fact making the right decision-making calls, they were at a standstill (and hence I was brought-in to work with them). After a few days, I realized something about our leader. They were extremely bright, well thought-out, and well liked in the organization. However, there was one aspect that struck me as so simple, so straightforward, that I wondered why our leader hadn’t thought of it… The one item was involving others in decision-making.
You alone as a leader cannot and should not look to make your best decisions based in and of yourself.
Decision-Making – Three Tips!
As a leader, there are a lot of decisions to be made. At stake with those decisions are items such as increasing shareholder value, achieving financial targets delivering key results, the employment of thousands, communities that count on you, etc. But decision-making in and of itself is not an insular game played with just one team player within an organization. You alone as a leader cannot and should not look to make your best decisions based in and of yourself.
While involving others in decision-making can become complicated really quick, here are three tips (or questions) that I would encourage you to ask to ensure that you get your best outcomes. Those three questions (or tips) are:
- Do you trust others that are providing you with information for decision-making?
- Do you argue freely before making decisions?
- Are you holding one another accountable for following through?
In this post we’ve explored the leadership challenge of decision-making and provided three tips to assist. Having worked with thousands of leaders around the globe over the years, according to the University of North Carolina decision-making study I’ve seen somewhere around a bazillion decisions be made. Some decisions were good (lucky?), some were bad (unlucky?)… But overall there were decisions made that all could have been made better. My hope in sharing this post is that you take the three tips provided and begin utilizing them to make the best decisions possible.
PS – 2020 will be here before we know it, and I see some disturbing Leadership-trends taking place. If you’d like to receive a white paper I wrote on “5 Ways Your Leadership Will Succeed in 2020” CLICK HERE.
PPSS – As we crossed-over the halfway point of 2019, I’ve launched my most aggressive initiative to date. It’s a 501(c)(3) structured nonprofit that provides Executive Education to allow you to become the BEST leader possible (NOT Good, NOT Better… BEST!). If you’d like more information, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.