Imagine I asked you to do a presentation to your new team letting them know how you make decisions. Could you describe, in 3 bullet points, the principles that you use to focus your thinking and guide your business decision making?
Moreover, we aren’t talking about whether you’re a, “I make the decisions” type of leader or a “We share decision-making”. Indeed, you’ll want to share that type of information with them as well. If you aren’t sure of the four styles of decision-making, review the Situational Leadership article for details on the four styles of decision-making.
For this exercise though, rather than talking about how you make decisions, we are focused on the ethos behind why you make decisions the way you do.
You likely have a way of making decisions, but may not have taken the time to document them into principles.
For example, one leader says her decision-making principles are:
Another leader's decision-making principles are:
Everyone who works with you should be clear that when they come to you with any idea or concept, you’ll be using these principles to guide your decision-making.
Can you see how sharing these principles with your team can help unnecessary conflict and confusion from arising?
Now, I’m not naturally inclined to be a ‘data drives the decision’ type of individual. In fact, if this leader hadn't announced his principles right at the time he became our leader, I suspect I might have got mightily frustrated with him. And, in my emotional immaturity at the time might have called him a nit-picky boss.
This simple act of declaring his decision-making principles, and letting us know it didn’t matter what or who came to him, he’d be using the same set of principles, made it easy for us to understand how to get things done fast and with his full support, without begrudging it. You’d go to him fully prepared to answer his three principles.
Even someone like me who hated digging the data learned to use my team to get the data he needed and presented in a way that got our team the results we wanted.
Build your decision-making principles from your values. If you haven’t already developed your own values, then access the My Career, My Choice (formerly known as Mindset of a High-Performance Employee) training to complete the Vision, Mission and Values exercises.
Alternatively, the Success Insights profile helps you identify your top 4 Driving Forces. For example, I know that one of my Driving Forces is Utility (which is all about Return On Investment), another is Receptive (driven to want new ideas). Which means in my decision-making principles I’d need something around improving profitability and also another around innovating/leading-edge.