As a leader, making decisions is an important part of the job, and it is expected on a daily/weekly basis. Your decisions not only impact you and your career path specifically. The ripple effects impact all of your team members, and many times other departments, and the company as a whole.
By the time you have become a leader, you have most likely defaulted to a natural decision-making style. This usually falls into one of two camps:
- Some leaders are adept at playing the Analyst role when making decisions.
- They gather all of the right data.
- Then they sift through it, find the important findings, and expertly assemble those together to present the solution that guides their decision.
- On the other hand, some leaders are in the Intuitionist role.
- They know how to quickly listen to the facts of the decision at hand.
- Then they trust their gut to guide a decision.
Neither one of these styles is right or wrong – but both styles can be wrong in certain situations.
Which leads us to the question – what if your own decision-making style is not the right approach for an important decision ahead?
At Corporate Path Leadership, we’ve seen the direct repercussions of a decision-making style gone wrong. In each case, the leader’s predetermined and natural decision-making style impaired the right outcome and ultimately business results. Here are two examples, and how a different outcome could be possible in each situation.
Scenario #1 – Balancing an Analyst Style
A technology company needs to choose between two partners to launch a new service. Revenue increases are expected with the new partner within the current calendar year.
- The leader asks for a tiger team to form and dig into the differences between the two partners (sales approach, product attributes, pricing and margins, etc.).
- The tiger team comes back after 90 days with no clear delineation between the two partners.
- The leader decides to reassign other variables to evaluate and becomes personally involved in the process.
- Nearly eight months later a partner is chosen – but not in time to impact current year revenue.
- In addition, people involved with the process lose steam for the rollout of the new service.
IDEAL SOLUTION: The leader should recognize that the speed of the decision (to increase revenue in the same year) is key. Knowing that they are more comfortable in an Analyst role for making decisions, they should set a quick target date (like 2-3 weeks) for a final decision based on all of the information available at that time – even if exhaustive information was not all available.
Scenario #2 – Balancing an Intuitionist Style
A heated departmental leader discussion emerges involving how to best restructure a specific team for operational efficiency.
- There are several ideas that are presented informally.
- The leader of the team impacted jumps to the restructure decision that she feels is best based on information provided in that initial meeting.
- Three months later, there is nearly 80% turnover on the impacted team – and the decision has not improved operational efficiency at all.
IDEAL SOLUTION: The leader should recognize that having a clear way to measure operational efficiency, as well as understanding how different options can impact team adoption are key. Taking some time to think through those variables before coming to a conclusion is critical – even if it means delaying the decision by 1-2 weeks.
In both cases, the right decision would have been something that was more opposite of the leader’s normal decision-making style – and would naturally cause them some discomfort. But it is pertinent to know that some discomfort with decision-making is relevant, and an important way to grow as a leader.
Key Considerations for Your Next Important Decision
We recommend that all readers think about their own decision-making style, and keep that bias in mind the next time you are faced with an important decision for your team/company. You can avoid the mistakes mentioned here by thinking first of the important aspects of the decision itself, and then whether or not your own decision-making style could create a challenge for finding the best outcome for your company.
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