32 – Decisions: maybe isn’t an option

imgresHave you been there?  You are a part of management team but you don’t seem to be making progress.  Your meetings feel like a scene from the movie, The Groundhog Day.  You discuss issues over and over but a solution is never implemented.  It is a frustration that will take even the most laid back professional to the edge.

Leaders…this issue is yours.  A delay in making a decision on important issues is actually making a decision.  And it has a big impact on your team.

Two Considerations for Leaders

  1. You must have accountability to outcomes
    As the leader of your organization (or department), the responsibility for outcomes is yours.  Your outcomes may include financials, client relationships, reduced turnover or innovation; but those can only result when you make the decisions to either pursue or abandon a specific course of action.
  2. Are you risk adverse?
    Your personality may instill in you an opposition to taking risks and as such, you may be pensive on decisions because you feel you never have enough pertinent data.  One remedy for this mindset is to clearly outline the potential benefits and risks to your issue.  Secondly, create a contingency plan if the decision to move forward is not successful.

Two Consequences of No Decisions

  1. Missed opportunities
    The dynamic of never having enough information to pull the trigger on a decision or the tendency to keep revisiting a similar issue over and over may cause you to miss key opportunities.  Your competitors are willing to at least try.  And even if they miss the mark a bit, they may be ahead of you in the market.
  2. An injured team
    Your team “dies” a little bit every time they see you cycle into a delay mode.   Several things occur.  When they believe they have completed due diligence and explored every possible what if scenario, they question your trust in them.  When they see the group “going down the same road again” mindset, they worry about the wasted time, energy and resources spent on an idea that may never come to pass and question your understanding of what they do.

Let’s face it.  As the leader, you have an enormous responsibility.  And while no one can have a strength in every skill, the ability to make decisions is one every leader must focus on.

How to Improve

Ask those who know you best to give you some honest and direct feedback. 

  1. Do I excuse continued missed deadlines or progress
  2. Am I willing to say “No” to ideas or processes that delay progress toward to larger goal
  3. Do my meetings have a purpose?  Are attendees prepared?  Are there clear outcomes from each meeting?

The answers to these questions can give you a great starting point for action.

This guide can also be a helpful resource for self assessment.

So where do you go from here?  Hmmm…sounds like a decision.  What will you do?

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