5 questions for better (and faster) decision-making

5 questions for better (and faster) decision-making

Leaders get into trouble far too often simply because they don’t have good decision-making protocols in place in their business. If a decision matters to you, then make your decision matter!

Do any of these all-too-common scenarios sound familiar?

  • People keep wondering, “Who is making the decision about….?”
  • Someone asks you, “Why didn’t anyone tell me about that decision? it impacts my work.”
  • Another person says, “If she’d already made the decision, why did she ask me?”
  • You hear, “When will he decide – he’s holding up everything at my end!”

There is such a simple way to prevent these and many other “dropped balls” from happening in your business. Once you get in the habit of asking these five questions of yourself and/or your team, each and every time, you’ll find it could take as few as 60 seconds to get to the answers. Even better, it will save you and others frustration, confusion, hard feelings, lost time and lost profits. Best yet, you’ll gain more respect from those you lead because they can trust you to make decisions well.

Here are the five questions to better decision-making:

  1. What is the decision that needs to be made? BE EXPLICIT. What exactly needs to be decided? If you can articulate it, you know. If you can’t, you don’t. Consider the various people and things that are impacted when answering this question.
  2. Whose decision is it? BE EXPLICIT. It is critical to know and communicate upfront. Are you the decision-maker? Is this a group decision? Do you want input only? Is the decision someone else’s outside your group? People don’t usually mind what the answer is – but they mind a lot if you pretend it’s something it’s not.
  3. What method will be used to make the decision? Will it be a consensus decision, where everyone must be able to live with it and support it? Is it a majority, two-thirds, unanimous agreement, or something else?
  4. When will the decision be made? The timeline for the decision must be clear so the impacts of the decision can be managed well and people can get on with their work. Taking too long or not long enough can create unintended and dysfunctional outcomes.
  5. How and to whom will the decision be communicated? This is so often overlooked, and yet the success of a decision depends so much on how well it is communicated. Consider who needs to know, who is the messenger, how it will be shared (in-person, by email, over a loudspeaker). Often the choice of messenger sends a message all its own. Is it you, a team, your boss, the board of directors?

When you are proactive in your decision-making, you are running your business instead of letting it run you. It takes a truckload of time, energy and money to clean up the mess that happens when your decisions are too often reactive or ad hoc. Invest upfront in the time to thinking about and answering these questions and then execute them well.

Roxi Hewertson


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