The courage to decide
We make decisions just about every moment of our lives so you think we’d be brilliant at it. As leaders for sure we are expected to be superb.
So why is it that decision making comes up so often when we are working with teams? Unpacking this one usually reveals a few common issues. Firstly many describe the challenges of cross functional decision making. This may be within a matrix or more conventional structure. Others will raise issues of the focus of decisions, citing a lack of strategic decision making with an over-reliance on short term or task-based decisions. The other common theme revolves around trust and power. Though seemingly different issues trust and power tend to have a similar root…lack of strong relationship within and across the team.
Something that is less often discussed but which is also a factor is whether there is, in fact, willingness to make a decision in the first place – something which often requires courage and commitment. Many of the decisions in today’s world are hard decisions. They don’t fall into the ‘no brainer’ category. They require deep thinking, broad assessment of information both obvious and less so, collective sharing and a strong connection with intuition or well-rounded instinct.
Once we have established that we do, in fact, need to push on and make some hard decisions and are going to summon our resources to do that, then the first 3 factors start to become more critical:
- Using the depth of experience and broader perspectives across the team/stakeholders to strengthen the consideration.
- Pushing ourselves to focus on both the long term and the short term simultaneously – walking the tightrope that can feel almost impossible at times to negotiate.
- And most importantly choosing to build trusting relationships with others and share the power in a way that strengthens the collective insight and collective decision making.
These factors all help to mitigate in a world full of uncertainty, change and possibility and while they don’t make the tough decisions easy they can make them robust.