Doing Right Means Making Right Decisions

Hard Decisions

choicesIt seems one of the most difficult and terrifying things we do as an individual or a manager of an organization is make decisions.  In the background is this agonizing thought that somehow the decision we make is going to send us or our organization irrevocably in the wrong direction and it will lead to disaster.  As we mature over time, we find that it’s just not true; we will almost always find a way to recover.  But we can all learn to be better decision-makers.
First understand that generally there are three categories of decision-makers who make mistakes.
  1. Snap Decision-makers who take immediate action because they think they need to act quickly without exploring options or gathering information.  Sometimes that works and sometimes it doesn’t.  When it doesn’t work, it can be disastrous.
  2. Deliberative Decision-makers want to make sure they have explored all the options and want to make sure they have ALL the information before they make a decision.  The problem is you will NEVER have all the information and often if you deliberate too long you can miss valuable opportunities.
  3. Never Decision-makers are ones who because decision-making is so hard don’t ever make a decision.  Of course, the fallacy in that is that not making a decision IS a decision and one that almost ALWAYS leads to disaster.
Inability to make decisions is one of the principal reasons executives fail. Deficiency in decision-making ranks much higher than lack of specific knowledge or technical know-how as an indicator of leadership failure.
-John Maxwell

The good news is that there are ways to make better decisions and make them faster and easier.  It will never be easy, but it can be easier.  And it starts with applying three keys.

  1. KNOW YOUR CORE VALUES – here’s a tip: if they aren’t written down somewhere, you don’t really know your core values.  You want to have them written down where you can refer to them again and again.  This is the foundation of what you stand for.
  2. FOCUS ON YOUR PURPOSE OR INTENT – Either as an individual or as an organization.  When you look at the options of a decision, you will examine each as to how they match up to BOTH your core values and your intent or purpose.  If they don’t match up to both, it is probably not the right option for you.
  3. SEEK WISE COUNSEL – Line up beforehand people whose opinions you trust and will allow you time to ask them questions and will ask you questions in return.  They will give you perspective and help you consider options.  THE DECISION IS STILL YOURS TO MAKE, but wise counsel can help guide you to making better decisions.