It’s up to you.
The facts and arguments for each alternative have been explained. The correct answer is not obvious, but someone has to make the call. And it’s you. What do you do?
New research* from Harvard Business Review provides six practices that can help you develop your judgement and capability to make better decisions:
1. Listen Attentively, Read Critically. Great decision-makers figure out how to turn knowledge into understanding. Listen very closely to presentations and recommendations. Require quality vs quantity in written reports so you can read closely. Amazon has famously restricted memos to six pages. To Improve: work to develop your active listening skills.
2. Seek Diversity, Not Validation. Don’t cultivate “yes people.” Seek out different views and require it from your top team. To Improve: Cultivate sources of trusted advisors as go to people.
3. Make it Relevant, But Not Narrow. Lean on your experience, but not too much. One of the cool things about experience is that we can identify similar themes and patterns in a challenge to those we have faced before. But be careful to look closely at the novelty of the situation as well. To Improve: Expand your experience especially when you are young with situations in a variety of venues.
4. Identify, Then Challenge, Biases. Biases will exist in nearly every report and recommendation you are given. Look for them, identify them, and push your associates to defend their reasoning – given the biases. To Improve: challenge your own assumptions and strive to embrace other viewpoints.
5. Question the Solution Set Offered. Require your advisors to present multiple options. It may take extra time and creativity, but all too often people only see two or three alternatives when there can be more. To Improve: Push back if you are being oversold or pushed to make a decision more quickly than is really necessary.
6. Factor in the Feasibility of Execution. An option might look good on paper but may have no practical chance of being implemented successfully. A complex strategy that sounds exciting may stand little chance of actually working. To Improve: Make sure you have input from people on the ground who have to do the implementation.
Passion and vision are good starters for a leader, but these six practices can help you maximize your chances of leading your team to improved Mission Impact.
*“The Elements of Good Judgement,” Likierman, A. Harvard Business Review, January – February 2020, pp. 103 – 111.