Decision making is the hallmark of a leadership. Years of experience, expertise and accrued knowledge are channeled into answering questions that can have a massive impact on people and profits, so it’s important to know which approach to use.
Primarily, you need to identify the type of decision that needs to be made and the impact it will have. Is it short-term, to move something forward quickly? Or will it have long-term strategic implications?
Then there needs to be clarity about whether the decision on is something a senior leader should be ultimately responsible for, or whether it’s something that requires a range of views and opinions. If it’s the latter, you need collaborative skills to ensure that everyone who needs to be involved in consulted in a way that’s relevant. Should it be one-to-one feedback, a group discussion, a wide-ranging consultation?
You also need to be very clear about who is leading and who is the final decision maker. They don’t necessarily need to be the same person, but everyone involved needs to be fully aware from the start of the process who has those roles.
Regardless of the speed or importance of the decision, the person with responsibility needs to ensure that they’ve taken into account everything that could have an impact on that decision – financial aspects, communications, commercial activities. Even if an answer is required immediately, these are the things that should be springing immediately to mind.
How strategically critical is the decision? With the constant change that’s happening politically, socially and digitally at the moment, you don’t often have the luxury of thinking things over until you’re 100% certain that you’ve made the right choice.
Decision making is a skill and a balance that requires a wide range of analytical skills, critical thinking and emotional intelligence, somethings all at the same time and carried out within seconds.