There are several root causes that can lead to poor decision-making. One of the most common reasons is the inherent fear of making a mistake. This trepidation often develops into risk aversion or the inability to move forward with decisions. Another common setback is that many leaders get caught up in analysis paralysis. This plays out in the form of incessant information gathering -- statistics, surveys, and intense research that ultimately prolong the decision-making process. These actions can set off frustration for all those involved, and tends to create a lack of trust and respect.
Decisions can also be brought to a halt when company leadership bury their heads in the sand and advocate against change, citing that new direction decisions are not necessary. This type of leader would rather uphold the status quo rather than consider new ideas, which can be counter-productive, particularly in today's high-octane business and financial environments.
If you can be less constrained by traditional approaches to decision-making, utilizing collaboration and consensus building in the process, you may be better able to see obstacles ahead of the curve. Business leaders who have developed a cooperative approach to decision-making understand that people have the need to be valued, respected, listened to and involved. This approach translates into better performance for their companies. It also yields more streamlined results as the inability to make sound decisions means your company could suffer greatly, as nothing gets accomplished in a timely manner -- or not at all.
Have to make a tough decision? Utilize the following tactics to ensure an effective and collaborative decision-making process:
1. Designate a deadline.
Allocate a specific period of time for adequate analysis of the decision. Assign a deadline for the decision and make the timeframe known to your team and at least one confidant or mentor so that you are held accountable to the dates. If you are particularly risk-averse ask your confidant/mentor to challenge you and point out when and why you may be holding up the decision process.
2. Seek a holistic view.
Create an environment where feedback is expected and appreciated. Ask more questions. Be curious. Encourage feedback from your team and gain the perspective from various people integral to the business, when possible. Whether it is HR, marketing, sales, R&D, or operations; their voice may bring through a different perspective that you had not considered.
3. Invite opposition.
It's important to test-drive the general direction of your decision. Assign a team or person to challenge the status quo and build it into the process of your meetings. It's always a good idea to have someone play devil's advocate with major decisions. This will present a well-rounded view during the decision-making process.
4. Be transparent.
Finally, and maybe most importantly, know your impact as a leader and decision maker. Walk your talk by saying what you mean and don't hide behind corporate rhetoric. Get involved with other departments and employee projects as often as your schedule allows. Follow the golden rules of engagement with your employees at every level by treating each one with the respect and consideration that they deserve. When these elements are in unison and big decisions need to be made -- an "all hands-on deck" collaborative approach to decision-making is much more likely to succeed. As a result, your business will thrive.