Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

A big part of leading people and teams is making decisions. You can’t move forward without making decisions. As the lead, or manager, it’s part of your job. Don’t pass it down to someone on your team. They’re looking to you.

  • Get the facts: Try to be well informed about the situation, the inputs effecting the decision, and the outcomes from the decision. If you’re not well informed, start asking people who are. They might have the information, or parts of it, but aren’t in the position to make the decision.
  • Trust your gut: It’s unlikely you’ll ever have 100% of the information you need. That’s fine, the 40/70 rule says waiting for 100% is waiting too long.
  • Know the risks: Not all decisions will be the right decision. Mistakes happen, but the trick is trying to minimize the cost of a potential mistake by knowing and lowering the risk. People point to the 10/10/10 approach as a way to do this.
  • Be consistent: Try to have a process or convention or guideline or philosophy to fall back on to help shape your decision. Exceptions can happen, but decisions are easier to make if you have a well know starting place to build from.
  • Don’t delay: The longer it takes to make a decision, the more problematic a situation can become. In the long run, every decision is short term. Delays keep the team from moving forward. Brian Valentine, lead developer on Windows 2000, had a famous quote: “Decisions in 10 minutes or less, or the next one is free.”

These guidelines can be useful when you’re in a period of heavy decision making. Decision fatigue is a real condition. It can lead to a reduced ability to make trade-offs, understand risk, or even just flat out avoid making the decision altogether. If you’re not prepared, your decisions will suffer and so will your team.

Originally published at stark raving finkle.