A leader guides by making decisions…calling the plays that keeps the team moving

That’s why they call them leaders, but frequently it’s hard to know what needs to be done. So many choices, so many factors to consider. When faced with the problem of figuring out what needs to be next, it’s helpful to have some guidelines to minimize the guesswork.

Here’s 5 simple keys to help you make and implement consistent great decisions:

1. Frame the issue and quickly get your options on the table. 
Decision making works a lot like computers. They call it GIGO, garbage in equals garbage out. If you have bad information you’ll make bad decisions. If you have great information you’ll make great decisions.  Do your research. Get input from all key parties involved.

Those closest to the situation have the most information and best instincts. You may not agree with them but you need to know what they are thinking and why. Then unemotionally clarify your choices. Eliminate the obvious. Put the best options down on paper.

2. The Right Time
Timing is everything! The Leader has to watch his team like a hawk! They have to anticipate problems. By doing that they have time to get their options in advance of calling a shot. They have time to not only make the best choice but also pick the best time to implement it. A great decision made too late is a poor decision.

3. Make the call! 
There is thinking time and there is GO time! At some point you have to stop gathering facts because you have ENOUGH facts. Past that point all you are doing is clouding the issue. Too much information and you find too many reasons why nothing will work. Instead of helping you make a better decision it causes you to delay making the RIGHT decision. Just like there’s a time to get your options on the table, there is a time to say ENOUGH – I know what I need to know. Let’s go NOW!

4. Sell the Decision—inspire confidence. 
You can’t just TELL, you must SELL them on it. Any kind of change is going to be disruptive. People don’t like change. It requires extra effort to adjust to new things. Most would rather keep on doing the same things the same way. You need to share with them the consequences of staying on the same course. Let them know the other options you have considered and then show the disadvantages of each. That gives them the frame of reference to buy in and accept your new plan because they understand why this appears to be the best choice.

When you share some of the thought processes with them it allows them to feel part of the team and to really get behind the new direction as opposed to feeling like they are being bossed around for no understandable reason.

5. Implement Immediately and Decisively. 
A mediocre decision executed with enthusiasm will always beat an excellent decision executed half-heartedly. Don’t hesitate, charge. Make the adjustments fast. Don’t leave room for doubt. Lead the way making all the changes involves to get on the new course right away. Put a lot of energy and enthusiasm into the move. Let everyone see you are excited about it and expecting great new results for everyone to come from what you are now doing!

You want to start racing in the direction as fast as possible so you can find out quickly if this is exactly the right call or you need to make any other adjustments. You’ll never know until you get the team moving. As soon as you see the next step that needs to be taken, jump on it so you can keep improving things and give your people better and better chances to be the most productive. 

All teams go through times of change. Making it happen successfully can be a leader’s finest hour. More opportunities for success will be created and the team can be re-energized and re-united the in the process!

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