The way people approach decisions in their firms often indicates the results they get from their firm, implying that by changing your decision making process you will change your results! Your leadership skills and your decision making process is linked; how do you decide which decisions to take now, think about, delegate or decide with others. 

Screw it, just do it - A decision making process? CC https://www.flickr.com/photos/lundyd/16592410997/

I read that Richard Branson’s advice on decision making “Screw it, let’s do it.” I don’t think all decisions made by business owners should be that quick, but neither should your decision making process be mired in detail or involve too many people in incomplete group decisions.

Effective leaders decide which decisions to delegate, which decisions should be discussed and which they should simply make on their own. Whichever method you choose, leaders also take responsibility for their decisions (and all the ones we mentioned are yours!).

This is one of a series of articles on leadership in a small firm.

You’re not running a democracy

Let’s face it, there are times when you just need to decide. Call it gut reaction, call it internal knowledge, call it whatever you like – but sometimes you need to decide and tell.

That’s when people often push back, “but I don’t want to upset….”. That may be true, but it is YOUR firm and it isn’t a democracy.

So if it’s urgent, highly strategic, involves some level of confidentiality – why think you need to consult all the time? But you do need to decide, and not wait for the team to help. Maybe you want some decision making techniques to help? Download our guide “Making better decisions”, it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

Involving your team in the decision making process.

At the same time, you want to help your team be motivated, feeling valuable  and involved (that means making decisions)? That’s true, so you might:

  1. Delegate
  2. Decide with them
  3. Listen to their views and then decide.

All three are valid; just tell them which you’re doing (first) to avoid upset and confusion.

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Getting a wider range of views can help improve your decision (or theirs), but needs to balance against stagnation. You’ll choose which of the three team methods, based on their experience, your understanding of the risks and the time you’ve got.

Your non decision making process?

Dice rolling - A decision making process? CC https://www.flickr.com/photos/missturner/2620019495/

Bad is when you don’t make a decision; this annoys staff and doesn’t move you forward. Are you procrastinating? Check you need to move forward and by when; then put a time limit on the decision making process and get on with it. There are several decision techniques that might help, tossing a coin or rolling the dice can be good. What decision making process do you use the most?

Even worse than when your team see you not making decisions, is when you just don’t implement the ones you said you would. Tow thoughts come to mind here:

“There is no such thing as a hard decision – when we think we have a hard decision to make it’s because we’ve already made the decision and don’t want to deal with (or don’t know how to handle) the consequences of that decision.”

and “Screw it, just do it” can be relevant here.

The risk of doing nothing is often far bigger than business owners realise.

In summary the decision making process is an important part of your firm. You can inspire others with how you include them (and don’t), or you can leave them demoralised by an overly long decision making process that doesn’t even get implemented.

Decision making is about leadership. How do you decide which decisions to take now, think about, delegate or decide with others?

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Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

Dice Photo used under creative commons licence. For more information, click here.

Screws Photo used under creative commons licence. For more information, click here.

Download our guide “Making better decisions”, it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).