8 Ways to Speed up Decisions

decsHere are some ideas you can use to make decision-making more agile and effective.

Dealing with Sluggish Decision Making?

Are you running from meeting to meeting, participating in circular discussions – with few, if any, decisions being made? If so, the health of your organization is at risk.

Fast, effective decisions are the life-blood of business. Sludge in the decision making process puts you and your organization at risk. Indecision causes delays, customer frustrations, and lost opportunities.

Today, there is less time and more issues on the table. Decisions must be made quickly – yet there are more people involved and the issues are complex. How can you safely pick up the pace without making costly mistakes?

Here are some ideas you can use to make decision-making more agile and effective. You can:

1. Slow down to speed up. Rather than forcing a decision, ask why you’re stuck. You might need a different resource, a critical piece of information, or be fearful to move forward. Ask, “What is causing us to pause? What will help us move forward?”

2. Involve the right people. Leaders spend far too much time trying to figure out decisions that require input from other people. Make a preliminary decision and then ask the individuals who are affected by the decision to improve on your idea. Recognize when you are ruminating about issues that others should weight in on.

3. Ask the right question. Premature closure creates angst. Don’t force a decision before you are ready. When you can’t decide, ask a different question. Consider, “What question do we need to ask?” Tee up the new question and ask decision makers to ponder for a week. A different question stimulates innovative thinking and better solutions.

4. Compensate for politics. Employees wait for the leader to weigh in and then jump on board. You must encourage divergent thinking and dissident views to get the best options and choices on the table before a good decision can be made. Beware of politically correct behavior that ruins good decisions.

5. Take a risk. Fear of failure runs rampant today. No one wants to be blamed for a bad decision. Yet not deciding can be the worst mistake of all. Agree to take a risk. Make a decision and see what happens. Allow for mistakes… self-correct as you need to. Be willing to learn as you go.

6. Seek better solution. If you’re struggling between picking option A or Option B, you probably haven’t figured out the best solution. Look for an even better idea than either A or B. Go for option C. When you can’t decide, realize the better solution is usually a bigger solution.

7. Clarify who makes the decision. Who is going to decide? When a decision is on the table, make it clear who is going to decide. Say, “I want your input before I make the final decision.” Or “We are collectively going to make this decision.” Or “I’d like you to decide – and I’ll support your decision.” Clarity about who decides makes it easier to step forward without stepping on toes.

8. Deal with the elephant in the room. More often than not, the decisions aren’t difficult – it’s the people involved who are difficult. Tackle these issues head on and watch the speed and quality of your decisions improve. Mistrust and tension thwart good decisions. Name the elephant in the room to make headway.

Improve the decision making of your team. Take this list of decision blockers to your next meeting. Ask employees if any of these blockers are interfering with your decision making process. If so, ask advice on actions to take that will address the issues.

Don’t delay! Sluggish decisions lead to sluggish results. How fast you make good decisions is an accurate indicator of healthy performance.

About the Author

Faith Ralston is an expert in leadership and team development and Chief Talent Officer of the Play to Your Strengths consulting group. Faith has 26 years of experience helping leaders improve performance and results. She specializes in dealing with leadership teams and helping everyone contribute their best talents.

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