In Action, Leaders

“Not to decide is to decide.” – Harvey Cox

It’s human nature that when we’re in stressful situations we have a tendency to freeze.  We’re not sure what to do, we’re nervous, we’re scared, we’re uncertain, we’re afraid of doing the wrong thing, so we don’t do anything.  Sometimes while we’re not doing anything we’re analyzing the situation and trying to find a solution, but quite often we’re just hoping a solution presents itself.  Hope is not a strategy.

If you’re in a leadership role, especially during times of crisis, you can’t abdicate your responsibility to make decisions.  You can’t just wait until all the options but one eliminate themselves and then do whatever’s left.  I’ve had the misfortune of watching leaders do that very thing and then pat themselves on the back for their decisiveness and ability to make sound decisions.

That’s great, you say, but it’s easy for you to say that in a blog post when we’re out here on the battlefield trying to navigate a chaotic and unpredictable world.  True.  So here’s some practical thoughts to help you get started:

  • Get some help. If you have people in your organization who are capable of helping you make decisions, let them.  Sometimes leaders feel like they have to have the answers and if they ask for help or if somebody else’s idea “wins” that they’re doing a poor job.  That’s garbage.  Your job as the leader is to facilitate good decision-making.  It doesn’t matter who’s idea is the right one, just go with it.
  • Stop before you start. Yes, I just wrote a few paragraphs about unfreezing, but you can’t just run off and start doing stuff either.  Your decisions should be based on the clear, concise vision you have for your business.  If you don’t have a clear, concise vision, stop and create one.  It’s your roadmap.
  • Don’t worry about making perfect choices. Nobody makes perfect choices or has perfect ideas.  Don’t wait until the perfect time or the perfect situation.  Those things never come.  Better to make a good decision and execute it than to wait until you come up with a perfect answer.  Because you’ll be waiting a long time.

Leadership is largely about making choices, and you can’t ignore that responsibility.  Focus on making the best choices you can and then execute like crazy.  Decide and conquer.  Good luck.

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