On a “case by case” basis

How one innocent response can paralyze your team.

When it comes to forecasting important decisions, it often seems easiest to make no decision at all. After all, you’re busy… it hasn’t happened yet and thinking of all possible scenarios is impossible.

If we aren’t careful, this form of prolonging decision making can quickly paralyze an entire organization.

“I don’t know the answer right now, when it comes up, come to me and I’ll handle that on a case-by-case basis.”

As a leader, it is easy to confuse leadership with a desire to give answers. What your team needs more, is an understanding of how to make the right decisions.

Handling decisions on a case-by-case basis puts you in the middle of every decision, removing accountability, and decreasing agility of your team.

When an organization is a startup it’s easy to handle decision making as an inpromptu conversation because, “Hey, let’s book a meeting and talk about it over a coffee.”

At over 30 people, when you’re on a plane, or in an important client meeting, or on the phone and unable to make that “case by case” decision — you’re a barrier to your team’s progress.

As a company grows, the biggest challenge to any goal is empowering people to learn how to make decisions in line with your company culture and direction. The next time you catch yourself saying “I’ll make that decision on a case by case” basis, try instead, to provide direction by drafting up a process around how you might make that decision. Believe me, processes can be sexy.

My experience is that you’ll find yourself increasingly referencing that policy as your growing leaders repeatedly run into the same situation and seek guidance.