In the leadership workshops I teach, decision making always comes up. In the consulting and coaching I do, I see the habits and approaches of leaders around decision making. While some people are quite proficient at decision making, more are proficient at not making a decision.
I see it everywhere, and it is hurting our organizations.
There is conflict and no one decides to do anything about it. Do they really think it is going to get better without an intervention?
There are products languishing, using precious resources, yet no one wants to pull the plug. Do they really think things will change automatically?
There are employees whose performances are sub-par, yet no coaching takes place. Do leaders really have more important things to do?
Productivity isn’t where it needs to be. But is anyone changing their habits or expectations?
Look around you – there are decisions you need to make that you aren’t making.
Well, that isn’t quite true.
In your indecision, you are deciding.
The problem with the indecision/decision is that it is causing organizational or personal drift. There is no definition, no energy, no impetus, there is just floating.
Floating is fun on a river, but it is no way to lead or manage an organization.
The word “decide”, in literal terms from its root, means “to cut off.”
In other words when you decide you are not only deciding what to do, but what not to do as well. Too often, leaders try to do both.
We are going to do this, but no, you can keep doing that too. That is drift, not decision.
We’ll just wait and see how it goes. That is drift, not decision.
Of course there is a time and place to collect data, to gain perspective and insight in the support of making the right decision. Yet too often for reasons of insecurity, a desire to please everyone or an inability to take risks, people keep collecting data, keep asking for input and therefore keep from deciding.
You are a leader.
Making decisions comes with the territory.
This doesn’t mean you should be a tyrant or not include others in some decisions – that is the furthest thing from my mind as I type these words. There are many times to involve others and the benefits for doing so are great.
And still we must decide.
Success comes from action, and decisions spur action.
Success comes from boldness, and you won’t find boldness in drift.
Here’s my challenge for you: decide to decide.
It applies to every part of your work and it deserves your attention.
Give it the attention it deserves. Squash out indecision.