Make better decisions with this simple process

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[August 12th, 2020]


It’s a cold fact of life: you must decide to decide. As the leader or as a team member, decision-making is probably the most difficult, yet one of the most important aspects of a high-performance team and organization.

And in uncertain times, like the ones we are currently in, it becomes increasingly important to have a thoughtful process to make the right decision.

In a recent survey, decision making was identified as the 2nd greatest challenge impacting 45% of all teams.

Think about that; almost one out of every two teams struggle with decision making. High-performance teams and organizations are efficient in making decisions on a day to day basis.

So how do teams become better at decision making? They define their decision-making process.

It sounds simple, but we have seen it work hundreds of times. Below is a decision-making process that teams use to make decisions and, over time, modify it to make it work better:

  1. Define the decision that must be made.
  2. List the options for the decision. As a team, talk through the pros and cons of each option.
  3. Understand the financial ramifications of each option. Before you can consider the emotional and strategic aspects of the decision, you need to understand its finances. I am not suggesting that the financial side of a decision is most important, but I do believe we have an obligation to the organization and all team members to understand the numbers when making decisions.
  4. Next, consider the gut feeling and the emotional aspects of the decision when coming to a proposed decision.
  5. Is the proposed decision on-strategy or off-strategy for your business? Having a plan for your business provides clarity, which leads to a more informed decision, which increases the chance that you make the right one.
  6. If need be, seek input from close advisors. For some of the more significant decisions we face at Stop The Vanilla, we seek advice from leaders outside our organization to ensure we are on the right track.
  7. Decide as a team.
  8. Define how the decision is going to be communicated to all involved.
  9. Then execute the decision.

I want to stress that this is the process that works for us. You must find the decision-making process that works best for you and your team.

Once you do, document the process and continue to refine it as you make decisions. Eventually, the team will memorize it and use it consistently across your week as the process can sometimes be completed in minutes.

There are numerous benefits to having a decision-making process.

  • Your organization will make more informed and thoughtful decisions and increase organizational performance.
  • Becoming more thoughtful and deliberate in your decision-making allows you to look back and learn from previous decisions.
  • The team will become more decisive and learn to act.
  • You will make decisions on a timely basis rather than procrastinating and leaving essential decisions, “hanging out there.”

Does your team struggle to make decisions? Decision making is an essential characteristic of successful organizations and one that we all should pursue. Can you make a decision to do that? Remember, Those Who Plan – PROFIT!