Good Leaders Have Great Decision-Making Processes

good leadersIn order to lead, good decisions need to be a part of the equation. If you are not given enough time to sort through the options, information or data analysis, bad decisions and the consequences are usually a result. However, as a recent article points out, it’s not just about having enough time, it’s about the process.

When I was with Vistage, we used to say that being a part of a CEO group led you to make better decisions and it was true. The process we used to help leaders reach those decisions employed many of the ideas listed by these authors, but I think they took it to a whole new level of thinking and possibility in the article.

Here are the tactics that have proven more effective at creating a better decision-making process:

  1. Interrupt the Interruptions – Don’t let others interrupt you, stop them.
  2. Share Perspectives Silently – Have people write down thoughts vs. going around the room.
  3. Conquer Groupthink – Make space for dissenters – other perspectives.
  4. Flip Perspectives – Instead of a 90% chance of success, say 10% chance of failure.
  5. Leaders and Experts Hold Back – As the leader, button it up till the end!
  6. Reframe Conflict – Call it critical thinking or something else but don’t use the word conflict.
  7. Assign Critics – Have at least two people who find the weak points in the plan.
  8. Take Another Perspective – What’s another way?
  9. Create a Space for Contemplation and Analysis – Allow time!!
  10. Design Meetings for Fresher Minds – After lunch, not in a rush!
  11. Release Time to Work – Turn email notifications off!

The biggest roadblock to any of these subtle but effective suggestions is the leader and the perception of “no time.” The adage “why do we never have enough time up front but always have enough time to fix it” comes to mind. I hear leaders complain daily of no time for a thoughtful decision-making process – and yet they are the ones not allowing enough time! My guess is that they don’t know how to do it differently and this study has shown that there are some really valuable new ways of disrupting groupthink, getting critical perspectives and being in the right frame of mind to think creatively. As the saying goes – you can’t solve the problem with the same level of thought that created it in the first place – so why not try something new!

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