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Consultant Proficiency Resources How 2 Series: Effective Decision-making

Updated: Dec 4, 2023

Consultant Proficiency Resources How-2-Series continues with removing paralysis analysis and replacing indecisiveness with decision-making. Episode #18 of Jumpstart with CPR features How-2-Make Great Decisions since indecision is a bad decision. As a new leader, learning to make good decisions without hesitation or procrastination is a skill set that needs to be honed through practice. Mastering the art of decision-making is a soft skill that can save you time and money. In today's Global market, vacillating comes with many challenges. It is important to underscore that some leaders intentionally vacillate for three main reasons:

  • Diversion: Get followers to think about anything other than the event/situation - issue (keep people off balance)

  • Accommodation: Get people to like you through the actions taken or not taken, which will support them liking the leader

  • Procrastination: an inability to decide without 100% information or unwillingness to make an imperfect decision or take action

Suffice it to say only toxic leadership will vacillate to throw the team off-kilter, though rare, it does occur. This post explores the leader who is not comfortable with making a decision without 100% of the information or unwillingness to make an imperfect decision or take action.

Today CPR considers Harvard Business Review (2022) and Forbes magazine (2019) recommendations on How-2 for stomping out indecisiveness.

1) Great decisions are shaped by consideration of many different viewpoints.

For a decision to be correctly formed, a leader needs to consult with those who can contribute meaningfully.

2) Great decisions are made as close as possible to the action.

Who exactly should you seek feedback from before making a decision? A leader should consider employees with extensive knowledge, experience, and perspective. This is generally someone who works on the frontline.

3) Great decisions address the root cause, not just the symptoms.

Reaching out to people who are closest to the issue at hand will help you identify the root cause as an opportunity.

4) Great decisions are made by an accountable person.

Even after receiving the feedback, you need to make an informed decision. Weak leaders find it comforting to have their decisions endorsed by those around them. A leader must be mindful that when accountability is shared, it dilutes your decision and your effectiveness as the person making the call.

5) Great decisions consider the holistic impact of a problem.

One way to build up your confidence is to regularly practice balancing the risks and potential impacts of each decision. Be prepared by responding to “what if” scenarios.

6) Great decisions balance short-term and long-term value.

As you think about risk vs. impact, consider the short-term vs. long-term costs and benefits.

Finding the right balance between short-term and long-term considerations is critical.

7) Great decisions are communicated well to stakeholders.

The purpose of this communication is not to seek approval or consensus on how you will solve the problem. Instead, you’re looking to bring everyone up to a consistent level of understanding, which is often necessary for the smooth implementation of a significant decision.

8) Great decisions are timely.

Speeding up your decision-making process starts with understanding the core elements of a good decision. Decide immediately. There is a cost to waiting. Decide and commit acts of commission (trial an error).

9) Attach a binding deadline to every delayed decision.

Waiting is only acceptable when you have a reason and a deadline.

10) Break big decisions into bite-sized pieces.

The more successful you become, the larger the decisions you'll face. These decisions can overwhelm you, stymying movement. To break down the mental barriers divide tasks into smaller chunks.

11) Only pursue high-value opportunities.

Perhaps bite-sized pieces are still overwhelming you.

  • Start by listing your 20 most important tasks to complete this year.

  • Now, separate the top five. Your instinct is probably to spend most of your time on Nos. 1-5 and a little time on Nos. 6-20. Don't! Instead, Nos. 6-20 just became your list of projects to avoid at all costs.

  • Focus on completing your Nos. 1-5 this year so well that your 6-20 won't make a difference to your company's success.

12) Push through failure, as it's just another part of success.

Fear is a normal part of doing something bold. Committing Acts of

Ommission (doing nothing) should never be a strategy. Don't let fear freeze you. In these moments, do a concrete analysis of your fears.

13) Stop waiting. Start acting now.

Like NIKE, "Just Do It"

Decision-making is an essential skill of a leader. Indecision is indeed a poor decision. Don't do it.

Warm Regards,


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