If Only I Could Decide! – Decision Making

Making decisions is an incredibly important part of effective leadership.  As Charles Parnell, Senior Strategic Partner at HPISolutions tells us in this weeks’ Power Idea, part of what defines your success as a leader is the ability to make effective and timely decisions.  Remember, even when you don’t make a decision, you have already made one!  Enjoy Charles’ article.

As a supervisor, manager or leader, one of your responsibilities is to make decisions. Sometimes you decide, and sometimes you procrastinate, but you must decide. Regularly, you must gather information, evaluate facts and decide on a course of action. A decision is judgment. It is a choice between alternatives. How quickly and how you make decisions, will to a great degree determine your success. Several reasons are given for not making decisions: not enough information, inaccurate information and fear of making a mistake. Fear of making a mistake can be tied to the culture of the organization – whether it’s accepted or not. Nonetheless, decisions have to be made.

One of the key ingredients to decision making is courage; courage is your ability to make good decisions and implement those decisions. It helps you reach a level of decision making that ensures your success. There is a perception that the effective decision making process is devoid of emotions. There is no tangible evidence to support this. The contemporary discourse in organizational life is that emotions are an integral part of the process. Emotions can be an asset if they are positive emotions. They can help activate creativity, develop courage, involve subordinates and recognize their needs.

There are two qualities that lead to more effective decisions: logic and an open mind. You must logically assemble the facts of a situation and keep an open mind to creatively develop many alternatives from which to choose when making your decision. The logical, open -minded approach to making a decision usually involves the following process:

  1. Recognize that a problem exists
  2. Define the problem
  3. Identify possible causes of the problem
  4. Seek a series of alternative solutions
  5. Choose the solution you think is best
  6. Share your decision
  7. Inspect the decision

It’s critical to recognize that the timing of decisions is critical. It can make the difference between success and failure. Problems do not go away; you have to roll up your sleeves and solve them.

We know that the movement toward self-managed and self-directed teams has resulted in organizations fully adopting them. These teams will engage each one of the foregoing steps of the process. It goes without saying that the ultimate responsibility is the supervisor, manager or leader – even though the team has been charged with making it.

You should ask yourself where you are on a continuum of 1 to 10 in terms of being an effective decision maker. If it’s less than a 10, ask yourself what stops you from being a 10. Then you should develop an action plan to close the gap. Think about what value that would have for your job and career success. We all can get better at this process -so let’s get to work.

Need more information? Don’t hesitate to contact us at info@hpisolutions.com or call us at 623-866-8200. We are ready to help!