Not deciding IS deciding

Have 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.

How does this happen?  Leaders…this issue is yours.  A delay in making a decision on important issues is actually making a decision.  Have you ever thought about it this way?

Now, it’s easy to blame our indecisiveness on our personality type, others, or a “but our situation is different” excuse.  But instead, let’s talk about the role a leader has in moving the organization forward and the danger he or she creates when this doesn’t happen.

Some Considerations
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 course of action.

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.

The Consequences of “No” Decision
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.  In today’s competitive landscape, organizations sometimes cannot afford to wait until every condition is perfect before moving forward.  That’s why contingency planning is so important.

An injured team
Your team “dies” a little bit every time they see you cycle into your 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.  The 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 can we get better?
Not sure if you are decisive?  Start asking those who know you best to give you some honest and direct feedback.  They’ve seen how you think and your process when making decisions.  However, if you are willing to ask the questions, you must be willing to listen to the feedback.

You  may also consider these resources.  They are good starting point for self-awareness and improvement.

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

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