Each one of us has a decision-making skill set that we utilize every single day in life and in business. Whether you are the CEO of a company, or you are in an entry-level position, good decision making is a valuable quality to hold. Furthermore, as a leader, it is important to spend time improving your decision-making skills to help you make effective and bigger decisions.

In a leadership role, your decisions not only affect you and your own path, but they also impact your employees, team members, and the business as a whole. Here are some steps for making great, effective, and thoughtful decisions:

Determine the Goal

Decisions are made to help achieve a specific goal at hand and it is important that the goal is clearly identified. An easy way to do this is to write down the overarching goal that you are looking to achieve. Then break that goal down into more specific, detailed pieces — note which departments affect the outcome, list financial goals associated with this goal, etc. Doing this helps create further clarity and helps to determine what next steps (decisions) need to be made.

Filter Input and Opinions

As a leader, you are the final decision maker for your business. During the decision making process, you will encounter a lot of input and opinions from other people — managers and team members alike. You should not completely ignore their thoughts and opinions, as they are the ones who will be affected by your final decision. Rather, hear them out and then consult with the  managers or other leaders within the business and be sure that you fully understand the impact that your decision will have on the team.

Take Your Time

There are some decisions that can be made quickly — those ‘gut-feeling’ decisions — such as “What flavor of coffee creamer should we stock in the breakroom?” Other decisions take time to form requiring deep and thorough thought. Don’t rush into making a decision; if made incorrectly, this decision can backfire on you and your team. When a business is in its infancy stages it is easy to make and implement decisions quickly, however as the business grows, decision making requires more time and thought.

Deliver the Decision

Once a decision has been made, it is important to share it with others. You may choose to share the information only with other managers, or you may find it best to share it with the entire company. Either way, here are a couple things that you can do to effectively deliver the decision:

  • Reiterate the overall goal at hand, and explain why and how the decision will help the company in achieving that goal. 
  • Choose the best form of delivery. Recognize when it is okay to announce the decision via written communication (email, instant messenger, or in a letter), and when it is important to deliver it in person, and face-to-face.

COACH’S TIP

For today’s tip, I will defer to the world’s wealthiest person, Jeff Bezos (who’s net worth is over $150 Billion).  Jeff uses his “Rule of 3” when it comes to decision making. “If I have three good decisions a day, that’s enough,” says Bezos.  “They should just be as high-quality as I can make them.” Further, Jeff aims to make his most significant decisions earlier in the day when he has the most energy and his “IQ is higher”.  

When are you making your most important decisions?  You may want to move these decisions to earlier in your day, as will power is not on will call!