I see people get “stuck” quite often. Many times it is because they lack the confidence and conviction to make the best decision possible. Instead, they focus on the “perfect” one. I am not sure a “perfect” decision actually exists. I do believe we miss opportunities to make sound, less than perfect decisions, which cost companies time and money. This blog post can help you avoid the slow decision no decision syndrome.
Slow Decision No Decision
The slow decision no decision that comes from the pursuit of perfection creates organizational challenges. It prevents other stakeholders from moving forward and doing their respective jobs. That’s why I say a timely, “less than perfect” solution is usually the best option. Even if you’ve got it mostly right, it allows others down the line to perform needed tasks and job functions. This is critical to achieving field level goals in an expeditious manner. In that case, it inherently becomes the right decision.
Research, data, intuition, logic and feedback from others form the bedrock for good decision making. By good, I mean right and timely. If the decision is merely right but not delivered in time to impact performance it becomes something entirely different. It becomes an excuse for poor performance. Removing obstacles is one of the most important actions that leaders can take for their employees. When obstacles remain, they become prime targets for what I call “excuse creep.” We’ve all experienced that feeling of helplessness. The moment when operational, compensatory and/or logistical obstacles get in the way of getting the job done. It makes the sale, delivering the product, etc., very difficult.
The other performance killer is when decisions get bogged down in bureaucracy. Every company needs a well-honed linear communication strategy. If they don’t, decisions big and small, important and trivial get caught up in the machinery. Then, they all become of equal importance. Who makes a decision and when, must be aligned with proper prioritization. Let’s face it, some decisions are much more important than others.
Good leaders allow and empower leaders to make field level decisions in real time. This is the best way to stay timely and make adjustments to market conditions quickly. If there are too many sign offs, approvals and managers in silos protecting their turf, nothing gets done. I call that FILLIBUSTER MANAGEMENT. I once worked for a company where this was the norm. Take the case of a new employee wishing to use their existing cell phone number. The #2 person on the organizational chart was the only one who could approve the importing of that number. This employee was three levels below the leader!
Companies and organizations need to prioritize developing a coherent decision and decision communication strategy. That is just as important as developing products, marketing plans, training sellers and building budgets. Get the internal architecture right and allow managers close to the field to be empowered. Make the BEST, LESS THAN PERFECT SOLUTION. Let them also communicate it in a clear and timely manner, and you will see measurable improvement in your performance. Don’t become the latest victim of slow decision no decision.
Now, go do something.
For more leadership tips, read my blog post, Performance Management is Not the Same as Process Management.