Author Mike Figliuolo shows you, as a leader, how to make decisions because using a very specific process—decisions that will have the greatest impact.
- For your high performing team to have impact, you need to make decisions because that's why you're the leader. And there's a very specific process you can follow in terms of decision-making. You need to prepare to make the decision, then you actually make the decision. Notice it's the second step in the process. There are three other critical elements. You have to communicate the decision to other people, let them know what you decided and why. You need to execute against that decision and you as the leader need to monitor for execution and then last, you have to measure and adjust accordingly. Now, there are four different styles of decision-making that you can use. The first is autocratic. Autocratic is when one individual makes the call without input from anyone else and that call is made quickly and decisively. The second style of decision-making is participatory. Participatory decision-making is where there's an individual or a small group responsible for making the decision. However, they get input from others before they make that call. The third style of decision-making is democratic and that's where we get all the relevant parties in the room and we simply vote and a majority vote carries the decision. The last style of decision-making is consensus-based decision-making and that's where everyone involved has to agree on the decision before we move forward. So a way to think about which style of decision-making you should use involves evaluating a decision based on two criteria. First, you have to look at the urgency of the decision. And is it high urgency? That I have to make a decision right now or bad things are going to happen or I'll miss an opportunity. Or is it low urgency and I've got plenty of time to make the call? The second element for determining which style of decision-making to use is looking at the size of the decision. And there are small decisions and there are large decisions that we can consider. And depending on the size and urgency of the decision, a different decision-making style is appropriate. So allow me to explain. If we have a decision that is relatively small but moderate to high urgency, we're most likely going to use an autocratic decision-making style. And the reason for that is I don't need a lot of involvement from other people because the decision is relatively small and there's not a lot of risk of being wrong, so the additional input isn't really required to mitigate that risk. And I have to act quickly, so I don't have a lot of time to involve other people and get their input. I just need to make the call. Now for decisions that are large but I've got a lot of time, that's where I'm going to use consensus-based decision-making. And the reason for that is, first, I've got plenty of time and it takes a lot of time to get everyone involved to agree on what the decision is, but I've got that time. Second, it's a big decision, so I want to make sure I get everybody's input along the way and I want to make sure they bought into the decision. The third style of decision-making we can use is participatory. And that style is most appropriate when we have a large decision to make. The other reason for using that style is the urgency is reasonably high and I don't have time to do the consensus-based decision-making. So I need to gather some input, but then quickly make the call. The last style of decision-making is democratic. And I use that style when I have a lot of time and the urgency is reasonably low and the decisions are reasonably small. So we can get the people in a room, give them some input. It may take a little bit of time, but I'm not pressed for it. But the decisions aren't really large, so we're not going to really hash things out the way we would with consensus-based decision-making. And if you think about decision-making as a process and consider those elements of decision-making with respect to style and type of decision, you're going to make decisions more effectively and more rapidly as the leader of a high performing team.
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