Decision Making

5 ways to make a decision

Have you ever suspected that you are being asked for your opinion on something when the decision has already been made?

Have you ever asked your team to make a decision and when they do, you realise you can’t possibly support it?

What about when the loudest, most senior or most aggressive person in the room always seems to swing the decision their way?

Sometimes the decision making process works well, is transparent and understood by those involved and leads not only to better decisions but also generates trust. More frequently the opposite is true.

Knowing the 5 basic types of decision will help you consciously chose the right process and communicates your reasons for that choice, depending on elements such as timescales, levels of authority, and where the relevant information is held.

Autocratic – You have all the information you need so you make the decision by yourself.

Consultative – You involve others by asking for their suggestions, ideas and recommendations and then you decide.

Consensus – You involve others by generating and evaluating ideas and alternatives and reach a decision by consensus.

Delegated – You determine that another person or group holds the information and the ability to make the decision so you delegate it to them and support the decision they make.

Democratic – You are part of a group that in which decisions are made by a majority vote.

Bearing in mind there is no right way; each type of decision is effective in different circumstances:

  • How do you decide the best approach for different situations?
  • What is your experience of decision making in your organisation?
Julie Kay helps you improve individual and team performance by building the strong trusting relationships you rely on for your success. If you are genuinely interested in boosting performance, productivity and profits the answer is just a click away. For more information, just click here

Feeling stuck, scattered or overwhelmed?

  • Can you only see one option and it’s not the one you want to take?
  • Are you overwhelmed with options and unable to choose one?
  • Do you know what to do but not how to do it?
  • Do you make a start and then not maintain it?
  • Are you doing it all on your own and feeling totally worn out?
  • Are you waiting for something to change and it just isn’t?
  • Perhaps you are working flat out but deep down know you are on the wrong track?

We all experience being stuck at times. Whether it’s over big or small issues, it usually results from only seeing one possible course of action and not wanting to take it. Getting unstuck depends on you freeing up your thinking and creating more possibilities.

Here are some effective ways to re-focus and get moving in the right direction

  1. Write down your challenge as succinctly and accurately as possible
  2. Change your physical position
  3. Go for a drive
  4. Brainstorm all the possible options. Go for quantity and don’t filter out the whackier ideas
  5. Exercise
  6. Get a coach who can ask powerful and challenging questions that provoke
    you to think differently
  7. Take a break, make yourself a cup of coffee
  8. Go for a walk around the block
  9. Get out into nature
  10. Lie on your back and look up at the sky
  11. Give yourself permission to stop thinking about it right now. Make an appointment
    with yourself to re-visit it when you are feeling more resourceful
  12. Sleep on it and let your unconscious mind work on it overnight
  13. Talk it over with a trusted advisor
  14. Ask yourself “If I knew the solution, what would it be?”
  15. Have a soak in the bath
  16. Ask yourself if this is something you want to address or just think you should, must or ought to
  17. Change the language you are using to generate more excitement and commitment
  18. Build in accountability for taking actions by reporting back to someone
  19. Check your assumptions, especially when you are telling yourself you can’t do something. What if you did?

What would you add to the list?

Which of these steps work best for you?

Julie Kay helps you improve individual and team performance by building the strong trusting relationships you rely on for your success. If you are genuinely interested in boosting performance, productivity and profits the answer is just a click away. For more information, just click here

How do you avoid tumbleweed moments?

You are in the team meeting and have just announced that you have a new piece of work to allocate. “Who wants to take it?” You get the usual response you have come to dread. Various pairs of eyes around the table look up to the ceiling, or down to their shoes, people start fidgeting or playing with blackberries, they might gaze hard at someone else who they believe “should” take on the task…Tumbleweed starts to roll through the office, little tornadoes of dust swirl by and you swear you can hear the distant strains of the theme music from The Good, The Bad and The Ugly……

Okay, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration but this kind of scenario is often described during my coaching and training programmes and there are many different ways of addressing it. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you make decisions and communicate with team members around the sometimes thorny subject of work assignment.

  • Have you experienced this situation?
  • Should it be a democratic decision?
  • How about the team leader just deciding based on their knowledge of everyone’s workload?
  • How do you deal with those tumbleweed moments?

Why Leaders Become Derailed

Much research (for example by Daniel Goleman and Lombardo and Eichinger) has been carried out as to why leaders end up seriously underperforming or being fired and it’s rarely down to lack of business acumen or technical expertise.

The reasons leaders become derailed include:

Overused strengths. When a strength is overused it becomes a weakness. Imagine someone who is really driven to perform but is so competitive that he steps on everyone to get where he wants to go.

Over Confidence. When confidence becomes complacency or even arrogance it can cause problems. Great leaders are also great learners. Once the learning stops, leaders, their people and their businesses stop growing and developing. Who can afford to stagnate in this day and age?

Lack of self management. This links back to my previous post about knowing yourself and showing yourself, with skill. While direct reports want to know their leaders on a personal level in order to build trust, they do not feel safe and secure coping with tears or tantrums.

Poor relationship skills. Outstanding leaders don’t become outstanding on their own. They rely on building strong, productive relationships with the people around them.

Not knowing their impact on others. We learn most, not from books or courses but from our bosses. Both good bosses and bad bosses. Great leaders can see themselves through the eyes of those they interact with. They also realise that they are communicating all the time, not just through their words but even more so through their actions. Knowing this helps them chose what they are communicating, consciously and carefully.

My questions to you are:

  • Which of these elements is most likely to derail you?
  • What can you do to prevent this?

Stressed? You’ve got 3 choices

Today I’ve conducted 5 coaching sessions with managers and there is a pattern running through all of them. A feeling of being overwhelmed, stressed and lacking any control over their own destiny. This isn’t surprising given that the managers are from various companies going through redundancies, re-organisations and other major changes.  However, just because it is a normal response to imposed change it doesn’t mean we have to feel helpless. The challenge is to focus on the parts that are within our control rather than waste precious time and energy on things outside it.

Stress happens when there is a mismatch between the demands being placed on us and our perceived resources to meet those demands. When we are not challenged enough we are in danger of rust out (I don’t see as much of that these days) and when the demands are greater than our perceived resources we risk burn out.

According to Ross and Altmaier in “Intervention in Occupational Stress” stress management is a decision making process and there are only 3 choices to make. We can:

Alter it – by changing something in how we approach our work, e.g. problem solving, clearer communication, better planning.

Avoid it – by removing ourselves from the situation or not getting into it in the first place, e.g. walking away, having clear boundaries, saying no, or even leaving the organisation.

Accept it – by building our resilience to it, e.g. self care, support systems, identifying goals and values, and by changing our unhelpful beliefs and perceptions about the situation or ourselves.

Which choices are you making? They may not be ideal, but they are choices, and they are yours.

How Often Are You The Lone Voice?

Although it can be tempting, particularly in times of change and turbulence, to keep our heads well below the parapet, outstanding leaders do the opposite.

They demonstrate they can be counted on when times are tough. They aren’t afraid to step up and be counted, to face into conflict, and to nail their colours to the mast of controversial or unpopular decisions. That’s because they know that leadership is about constantly looking for better ways. Continuous improvement can only happen when leaders challenge the process, question whether the way things are being done, and still make sense.

This is one of the reasons why it’s often “lonely at the top” and, for that matter, lonely anywhere else that outstanding leadership is being practiced. In order to take a stand, leaders need a strong sense of self and lots of confidence in order paradoxically to feel comfortable taking risks, being wrong and making mistakes. In fact, research shows that successful leaders and managers have made more mistakes during their careers than the people they were promoted over. They were promoted for showing the courage and the strength of character to take a stand not because they were always right.

So don’t let the chance of being wrong get in the way of taking a stand when you feel it is the right thing to do.

My questions to you are:

  • When have you taken an unpopular stand for something you believed in?
  • When has your courage failed you and you have kept quiet?
  • What made the difference?