Better, smarter, more sustainable decisions
Why intuition is not enough
Making decisions is one of the most critical tasks of you as a (future) leader.
Often, leaders struggle to make any decisions. Making no decisions is always the worst choice. Avoiding risk at any time is not possible if you claim to be a leader. People will lose respect for you, and in due course, you will lose your social legitimisation. Escalating every minor decision to a higher level in the hierarchical pyramid will quickly be seen as a weakness — in many cases, rightly so. If you are unable or unwilling to decide, leading is not for you.
Still, even the ones who decide often struggle with making wrong decisions. Nobody is perfect and making wrong decisions is part of life and business. Still, leaders often wonder how they can make better, intelligent and more sustainable decisions. Is there a way to do it better?
Be in the know
Let’s assume you need to optimise the new marketing campaign, the purchasing process and the business sales routine for client acquisition. You can, of course, decide that from your desk (which would be the worst choice). You also can talk to the different department leaders from sales, marketing and purchasing. This step only will work well if you have a culture of open and unfiltered communication. Otherwise, people will not tell you the whole story, not give you the entire picture to portray themselves in a better light. Based on this wrong information, your decision as a leader will not be much better and lead to a mediocre result or even worse.
Often, it is a wise choice to talk to people directly. Get to know what the issues with the marketing campaign strategies are. Listen to the people who have your suppliers on the phone every day. Talk to the people who get new customers on board every week, the ones who make hundreds of calls a day and who sit in front of your potential clients daily.
Deciding based on wrong, filtered or incomplete information is the best way to get to the wrong conclusion. Be sure to stay well-informed. Only when you deliver excellent leadership people will talk openly to you.
Facts versus Opinion
Have you ever heard the phrase “Mr X is here for twenty years. He knows how to do it”. Yes? No surprise. First, experience is essential and, of course, should play a role when making a decision. Second, experience is not data. Data Science is in such high demand because people realise that deciding based on reliable and valid data is better to make decisions. Third, bring experience and data together gives you the best of two worlds: a strong foundation of facts plus the long-term experience from your employees.
Be aware that some people will claim that their opinion must be heard. That is not by definition correct. Anyone has the right to their opinion but not to their facts. While freedom of speech is a human right, there is no right to getting the most prominent platform for a potentially unsubstantiated claim. Your opinion will and should be heard when you are an expert on the subject matter — simply having a belief with no reliable and valid proof, evidence and data to back your point is of limited to no value to the organisation.
Be sure that your decisions are based on facts rather than cronyism, nepotism, false “best friends” networks or similar non-factual aspects.
Handling bad decisions
It is a matter of time until you will make a bad or simply wrong decision. Accept this fact as it is unavoidable. Unfortunately, bad leaders justify even the worst decisions. Some of them go as far as the employees are unable to have a valid opinion about it. Do not go down that road. After a wrong decision, you admit it, you learn from it, and your, as well as your employees, will grow an open culture of discussions which will be beneficial for the future.
More about better decision-making in
this week’s podcast: click here to listen and learn.
The topic of decision-making is crucial for you?
Let’s talk: NB@NB-Networks.com.