I have a crystal ball. It’s an amazing tool and makes my life so much simpler. I no longer ruminate over what to do or which course to take; no analysis paralysis for me. I just look into the ball and, voilà! … all is revealed.
Wait … I must be fantasizing again.
Unless you have a crystal ball, you’ve no doubt had times when the “right” decision is as hard to come by as a (fill in the blank). You think you know what to do, but, then again, how can you be sure? And, if it IS the “right” decision, will you think it’s a great decision days and months down the road? By the way, hurry up and decide already…time’s a wastin’!
So how do you make the “right” decision and how will you know it’s great?
A key element to making a great decision is the dialogue that occurs early in and throughout the process. Clarity and comprehension are the initial goals. What are the potential consequences, intended and otherwise; who will be involved and feel the effects, for better or worse; what’s the value of the desired outcome to all those involved? Although this “dialogue” could take place in your head (medication may be indicated if argument erupts), it’s best held with a few stakeholders on your leadership team … even one other is better than none. No over-analytical minds wanted here, though. Just focused, thoughtful even provocative discussion desired.
Having endured, I mean accomplished, an intellectually curious discussion, it’s time to take sides – literally. Debate is essentially a well-reasoned, respectful, even passionate argument. Again,this could be clinically significant if you restrict it to me, myself, and I, so involve others – debate the proposed decisions from each plausible perspective. And, above all else, listen with the same intensity others reserve for speaking. It will pay dividends even beyond the decision you choose.
Finally, decide. This does not mean acquiesce in defeat. It means commit – completely and clear-mindedly. Most importantly, the whole leadership team must commit in this manner. This is not a place for compliance, for to commit necessitates regard for the process you’ve completed and respect for the people with whom you’ve processed. What does this look like down the road? Unity of command – when in the moment you’re challenged by those you lead, you stand by the decision you made with your team and present it as your own, without caveat or condition.
How will you know your decision was the “right” decision and even a great decision ? Fair question – perhaps not the best question, however. The more compelling question is, “how will you lead in the wake of the decision you made?” Great leaders do far more than make great decisions. They deal with consequences ,they focus, they listen, they navigate the unpredictable course of life, and in so doing they inspire those they lead to make their own great decisions. No crystal ball required.