Make decisions based on strategic thinking that reflects a broader scope: look at the alignment with corporate goals/initiatives and the impact on people/teams as well as the bottom line.
- In the movie, Moneyball, a baseball team with minimal talent achieves maximum success all because of smart decision making. Other teams measured success with traditional metrics like homeruns and runs batted in. But this team measured a different pattern of measurement that would statistically lead to winning more games and it worked. Now, that may simply be a baseball movie, but it really showcases an important business lesson. Just because a decision has always been made in a certain way, doesn't mean that's the best way.
If you're a manager, decision-making comes with the territory but true leaders approach choices and options in a different way. They don't waffle or procrastinate. They don't obsess over the fear of making mistakes. Here are four things strong leaders do when facing major decisions. Leaders consider a wide range of possibilities based on their broad perspective. If they've worked to position themselves as thought leaders, they're armed with a depth of knowledge that gives them a real edge.
Leaders think carefully about the impact of their decisions on the company, the bottom line, the customers, the employees, even the competitors. What's the immediate impact? What are the long-term implications and consequences? Leaders are decisive and courageous in their decision-making but they also know when to strategically pause if a delay provides an advantage. Sometimes, there's genius in waiting. For new information, for a competitor's announcement, for a technological advance, that pause could prove to be priceless.
Leaders use a structured process or model to guide their thoughts and decision-making but they also aren't afraid to change the metrics or approach the analysis in an innovative way. Here are some common models leaders use to help them make good decisions. Cost-benefit analysis is probably the most popular. It helps you to assess the financial feasibility of a potential choice or initiative you're considering. It all comes down to the bottom line. Does this choice make sense in dollars and cents? Risk analysis gives you a structured approach for assessing potential challenges or threats involved with making a particular choice.
This can help you calculate the probability of a negative outcome and the estimated cost to remediate or manage the problem. Decision matrix analysis or decision trees are another way to bring together all the disparate factors involved in your decision in a reliable and rigorous way. If you'd like more information about these models, this site offers a number of courses you might find helpful including managing project risk and critical thinking. Beyond using these models, successful leaders have the discipline to think through alternatives from a strategic scope.
They consistently make smart decisions by asking the right questions. Here are a few of them, and you'll find the comprehensive list on a downloadable handout. Does this initiative align with our overall mission statement, our branding, and our competitive positioning in the market? Are there legal, regulatory, or contractual implications? What are the benefits and potential risks associated with this decision? Making the transition from manager to leader means upgrading the way you make decisions.
By expanding your perspective, becoming more strategic and innovative, you'll be prepared to make the kinds of decisions that consistently lead you to greater success.
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- Looking and sounding like a leader
- Increasing your emotional intelligence
- Becoming a thought leader
- Expanding your strategic scope
- Viewing challenges with a fresh lens
- Improving your decision-making skills
- Cultivating conditions for team success
- Building meaningful connections