5 steps to faster decisions

Posted on Posted in Career Strategies

Do you suffer from ‘CEO disease’ or know anyone who does?  The deceptive contagion, not reserved to professionals who hold the CEO role, that has to do with a person’s ego resulting in an unwillingness to improve.  To learn.

‘CEO disease is a bad case of imperious self-aggrandizement and ego-tripping at the expense of the company’. – Forbes

Learning is a priority and the network of professionals forming the Aspiring Executives Committee (AXC) share that mindset.  Daily we’re encouraged to learn new things.  Stretch ourselves.  Practice.  And recognise that being effective leaders (especially for those already tasked with the job) involves continuous training.  Developing new and improved management methods.  No one method can now and forever be the best method to adopt.  You’d need knowledge of a range of methods.

That’s why I wrote about Bolt-esque and Farah-esque decision making styles in the article entitled ‘Leadership style: marathoner or sprinter’.   I’m a convert.  Once a marathoner, I’ve since moved from the Farah-esque style to adopting the faster counterpart.  It’s what I feel works better today, as volatility is high.

In simple and more complex situations, when faced with making decisions do you use a trusted system?  Maybe you draw up a list of pros and cons?  Or think through the possible consequences for each choice?  Or perhaps your system is much more spontaneous, emergent?

There’s no right or wrong answer really.  No choice or system for that matter can completely guarantee decision success.  Though with arbitrary approaches you risk carelessness.  It can be time consuming (or be a symptom of procrastination – remember observing your boss being slow to act on matters important to the delivery of your work?)  And you can amateurishly overlook key considerations.

The Bolt-esque style is procedure-rich.  Think of it like packing for a business trip.  Do you use a list to remember everything you must take with you or do you leave it to memory?  Well, it’s the same for the sprinter-like leadership decision making system.  For precision you’d use a checklist.  The checklist is what separates Bolt-esque decision makers from the Farah-esque leaders.

For every decision there’s forethought.  Sometimes structured and written.  Other times less structured but involves meticulous thought and planning.  How does it work?

Well, it does take time to build your speed when you’re new to it.  But with practice your capacity for going through the process quickly improves.  The process can be summarised like this:

 

Step 1 – Identify what the objective is

Step 2 – Pinpoint what assumptions you’re making about the situation

Step 3 – For each assumption, understand what do you already know and what you can’t possibly know

Step 4 – Think through what might happen if your assumptions prove

Step 5 – Make the decision

 

That’s it.  Sounds simple doesn’t it.  It’s not.  It really works your frontal lobe.  The next time you’re faced with a decision, why not try the system and see.  The more you use it, the faster you’d master quick decisions.

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This post was contributed by Rhonda Best

About the contributing author

RBest brick bground v2Rhonda Best is an ACCA Chartered Accountant and Business Growth Specialist with 15 years’ leadership experience in the SME sector internationally.  She is a former Chair of the ACCA’s Corporate Sector Network Panel, a member of its SME Global Forum and an ACCA Council candidate in July-September 2016 elections (ie. ACCA’s leadership). She is also a Director at Alexander Bain.

In 2015 she co-founded Aspiring Executives Committee (AXC), a do-it-yourself executive development programme which facilitates the development of 7 core leadership competencies.  AXC members take up first-time Director and committee roles in start-ups, building credibility and a transparent Director-level track record simultaneously.

You can meet AXC members or inquire about joining the network at the networking conference on 22 November 2016.  Register to attend here AXC Networking Conference.