As a business owner or leader, you are expected to make some important business decisions in the coming months that you never planned for. There is likely very little previous experience you can depend on to help you make the right decision.
In the words of Maimonides, “The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision.”
If you are currently being faced with making a crucial business decision, ask yourself these four questions and then use one of the four ways outlined below to help you make your decision.
4 Questions to Ask Yourself About the Decision Being Made:
- Who Cares? Who will be affected by the outcome of this decision? Write down the specific names and groups of people who genuinely want to be involved in the decision.
- Who Knows? Who has data or expertise that can help you make the best decision? Are there people outside of your company you could turn to for help?
- Who Must Agree? Think of those whose buy-in you need once you make this decision. Who can influence others to stand behind your decision?
- How many people need to be involved? Your goal is to involve as few people as possible. While you have identified many who will care, should know, and will need to agree – who really needs to be a part of this decision-making process?
Now that you have the answers to these four questions, use these to help guide which of these 4 types of decision-making strategies will be the most effective.
4 Types of Decision Making Strategies
At KWSM: a digital marketing agency, we recently reviewed the basics of decision-making in our Leadership Training program. During this training, I was taught the 4 types of decision making that a leader could lean on. Each one comes with its own set of pros and cons.
If you have determined that no one really needs to be involved in this decision, you can get away with making a Command decision. In a Command decision, you make the determination without the input of others. Although it isn’t easy, it is sometimes the best thing for a leader to do when a decision needs to be made quickly, or when it’s a difficult decision that some will not agree with. Make the call and let everyone know. Consider sharing a little more insight about how you reached your solo decision, to help you get buy-in.
If you find that you have a small group of experts that are worth involving, you should go for the Consult approach to making this decision. Leaders can use the Consult approach for when they need to make tough calls. Ask for input from others and let them influence your decision before you choose. Be sure to be efficient about how you gather the data so you do not lose too much time. Once you have gathered the information, make a decision, and stick with it. If it turns out you were wrong, you can always make another decision later.
If you find you have many people who know and should agree about the outcome of your decision, you may want to use the Vote decision-making strategy. It is recommended that you only put things to a vote when you have a number of good options you can get behind as the leader. Once the votes are cast, you will need to go with the majority no matter what. And, the others involved must also agree that they will abide by whatever decision is made.
Consensus is reserved for high stakes decisions that have significant impact. Many people in the company will care about the outcome of this decision and everyone should agree. The Consensus approach generally takes longer to make a decision because it requires that everyone talks until everyone agrees. This approach can be difficult if a decision needs to be made quickly, but it does create a large degree of buy-in from the group.
A Final Thought
After going through the 12-week Leadership Training Program at KWSM, I learned a great deal about what it means to be a leader. Making decisions is unavoidable. Even if you are not the one in charge of making the decision, your buy-in will matter as a leader. Just remember, that there is always going to be some level of risk with every decision you make. Make the best decision that you can with the information you have. You’ve got this!
Leaders Make 70 Conscious Decisions at Work Every Day
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