Management is about making decisions. Good management is about making clear and timely decisions so that the business runs smoothly and profitably with as little disruption and drama as possible. Three common deterrents to clear decision making are: doubt, fear and lack of structure.
When you’re trying to shape your business it’s natural for doubt to creep into your thinking because major decisions often deal with the unknown, the future. Doubts are those nagging feelings of uncertainty, where you may question a belief or hesitate to act. Is this the right decision (if there is such a thing)? Am I being too hasty? Do I have enough information? Doubts make us uncomfortable and anxious about moving forward. They can either delay arriving at a decision or acting on it once it’s been made.
Many managers are afraid to make decisions, especially the more difficult or important ones. This, too, is natural. This is when the question “what will happen if I’m wrong?” enters our thinking. As a result, decisions often get put off or, worse, never made at all. This fear of failure or of some unintended consequence slams the door on action.
But you should consider one principle of management: There is no bad decision. We just learn to make newer, better ones. Refining our decision-making is part of becoming a mature manager as well as a sign of a more mature company.
Some managers don’t make well thought out decisions because they have no structure for making them. In other words, knowing or learning “how” to come to a decision is most of the struggle.
Here are three simple steps that can get you started: 1) clearly identify the problem, challenge, or opportunity; 2) identify the possible actions to take including desired results and potential risks; and 3) design a framework for taking responsibility for the actions (who, what, when, how, and why). This is not an easy process because many decisions, especially those with enterprise impact, are hard to make. But though the process isn’t easy, it is simple — even for large decisions.
The McNutt Group helps businesses discover next steps such as these. Please contact us if you would like a free copy of 12 Basic Questions that help guide the process when there are complexities involved or if you need assistance with pending or troublesome decisions on your horizon. We would love to help where we can.