General

Making Smart Decisions

Gbemisola Afolabi Written by Gbemisola Afolabi · 2 min read >

“Being a good leader often means making the right decision instead of the comfortable one”.

Making decisions is hard. Sometimes it’s hard because you do not have all the information at your fingertip, or you don’t know whether you have all the information. Sometimes it’s hard because the decision you’re making will take you back to the past. You can’t go back, so you want to be sure you get it just right without making the same mistakes. 

Most of the time, however, they are hard because we make them hard. We do that because most people suffer from a combination of fear and doubt that causes us to second-guess the decisions we make. That’s especially true when the decisions affect an entire team or organization. 

As a leader, it’s your job. It’s your job to make decisions that affect the organization and the lives of its stakeholders. 

The good news is, most of the time, the decisions you’re making aren’t “point of no return” type decisions. That isn’t to say that you won’t be faced with those, but most of the decisions a leader makes are far lower stakes.

As managers, we are faced with different scenarios that require urgent decisions to be made. These are the day-to-day decisions that managers have to make relatively quickly or they start to stack up and slow down the entire team. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make better decisions, and make them faster. One of them is what I call the “three question rule.” 

Here’s how it works. 

When you’re considering which decision is the best option for yourself or your team or your business, it can be easy to get lost in all of the possible outcomes and variables. That often causes you to second-guess whether the decision you’ve made is the best. 

Apart from this, It also slows you down, because instead of moving forward with your decisions, you are stuck looking backward at your process. Even worse, often you end up making a lower-quality decision because you’re driven by that doubt and fear.

Instead, make the best decision you can with the information you have, and then ask yourself these three questions:

  • Does this decision align with our core values?
  • Does this decision advance our stated goals/objectives?
  • Does this decision reflect the best interests of the stakeholders?

If the answer to those three questions is yes, then it is safe to assume that you have made the right decision. Move on. If any of the answers are no, you have more work to do, but your real problem is with your decision-making process. The point is that if you’ve reached a decision for which you can answer yes to those questions, it’s time to act. You have too many things to do to spend more time second-guessing good decisions that support those three things. 

Sure, sometimes you’ll find out later that you could have made a better, cheaper, faster decision. Sometimes it won’t be the “right one.” For that matter, sometimes there isn’t only one decision that could be considered “right.” 

That will be the case no matter how much effort you put into making a decision. The point is to make the best decision you can, with the information you have, that aligns with what you have said is important to your business. If you do what’s right, for your values and your people, and you’re accomplishing your stated goals, move on.

Sometimes there isn’t a perfect answer or a “right decision.” As long as you can answer yes to those questions, make the decision, and move forward with implementing it without looking back.

“The right decision is always the hardest to make. But they must be made to be a good leader”

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