The scary thing about being a leader is that you have to make a lot of business decisions. How do you make them when you can never be 100% sure that these decisions are the right ones?
The key is to have as much information as possible available before making decisions. And you'll need to be able to get that information from your employees fast. The problem is, no one has time to ponder over for weeks about every decision we have to make.
Accepting the risk.
As a manager you have a tremendous task: making the best decision in the shortest possible time with the available information. A lot of decisions will be wrong as you don't have all the answers, no one does. And some bad decisions will hurt you a lot.
The best you can do, is to trust the information you have and, to some extent, your instincts and hope for the best. This is pretty much the definition of leadership and if you can make decisions this way well, you are a great leader.
There is luckily a lot to be done in order to stack the odds are in your favor. You need to build a high performing team that helps you. Then you can be sure most of your decisions are the right ones.
The 7 steps.
The University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth lists seven basic steps in effective decision-making. These are:
- Identify the decision to be made;
- Gather relevant information;
- Identify alternatives;
- Weigh evidence;
- Choose among alternatives;
- Take action;
- Review decision and consequences.
The question is, how much time can you spend on each of those steps and which steps should you focus on. Considering how many decisions you need to make every day, deciding how to approach these steps is the most important thing you need to do.
For me, gathering the information and weighing evidence are the hardest and most time-consuming parts of decision making and this is where your team can help you the most.
Having effective weekly reporting on your side.
To always have the data available, you need to have an effective online weekly reporting solution like Weekdone set up in your team. That helps to make sure you always know what's going on. Reporting will make sure you get the right information from your employees fast and are always up to date with everything that is going on.
In addition to helping you with your decision making, Weekdone's weekly reporting helps you in many other ways as well. When you implement it, you'll find out that you:
- become more productive;
- achieve work-life balance;
- learn when to say no;
- learn how to share better.
Exxact Corporation started using Weekdone to make it easier to report daily progress to managers. And as Andrew Nelson, their Director of Engineering, told us: "It's easier for the person recording them, it's easier for everyone to see what you're doing, it's easier for people to make decisions on what to record."
From them I learned that in order to make decisions at all you have to find the sweet spot between data, time and gut feeling. As Theodore Roosevelt has said: "In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing." So instead of doing nothing, try out Weekdone today.