This morning I had a revelation. For some time I have been thinking about replacing my electric shaver. It has been making strange noises and I wasn’t sure it was such a close shave anymore. It is amazing what you can put up with – you rationalise what you have, ‘it’s still working’, ‘I haven’t had this one long.’ Over the weekend I acquired a new shaver, and this morning used it for the first time. I couldn’t believe how closely it shaved and so quickly. Trying new things is like that. You think what you have will do because it is working. What you are not factoring in is how much better the new could be.
“Decisions should always be made as close to the problem as possible.” John C. Maxwell
The questions you have to ask yourself are: why do I put off making some decisions? What is the impact of doing this? I gave an example of a decision which didn’t have big impact, but decisions, as John Maxwell says, need to be made as close to the problem as possible.
What delays decision-making?
All of you will approach decision-making in a slightly different way. The important thing to realise is that making good decisions involves people with different perspectives.
4 Key Components to Decision Making
What are the facts about this decision?
What are the different options to tackle it?
Will those options work?
What will be the impact on people?
You will be predisposed in terms of your view of the world to see certain parts of this more clearly than others. Hence the need for the team to help get the right information together to make as the best decision possible.
3 Views which Enable Better Decisions
1. Keep an open mind
What’s wrong with the way things are done now? – Many of you will relate to this question. Changes push you out of your comfort zone and after all what you are doing now is working. With this mindset many of the new innovations and inventions which you take for granted would not be here. It is always good to consider how things are now; it is also good to test how things can be improved and changed for the better. Check your resistance and try and remain open once you have enough information then trust the process.
2. Adopt the perspective of curiosity
What can I learn? Being curious is a peculiarly human thing. The desire to push boundaries and try new things has been the driving force behind much change. There are people in your team or organisation who will naturally gravitate to how can we do this differently. Give them room to experiment; many of the best innovations come about this way. Think differently about failure. Failure is still a learning opportunity – as John Maxwell has said ‘fail forwards.’ In other words, no situation is without learning. The truth is you often fail your way to success. The trick is to take the learning with you.
3. Impact on people
What’s best for the people you lead? The things that got you here will not necessarily get you to where you want to be. The priorities of today are different from two decades ago. Leaders must be agile to respond to the changes in the world of work. This was illustrated so powerfully through the recent COVID pandemic. The question is not when will things change but how are you going to position yourself as a leader to help those you lead navigate the change?
Trying new things does bring those aha! moments. Decision making moving to the new is a process – may you remain open, curious and focused on those around you as you make them.
You will make better decisions when you understand you are a person of value, who values people and adds value to them.