Decide Already! How to get decisions made, no matter your title.
In order to be competitive as an individual, team, or organization, you need agility and speed in this rapidly changing marketplace. This means that decisions must be made faster than your competitors, and your plans executed with excellence.
In the Amazon top-10 business book I co-authored with Dr. Colm Foster, Step Up, Lead in Six Moments That Matter, we dedicated a chapter showing how to accomplish this.
Here are two of the ways our clients are able to outpace their competitors in decision making.
First: You can bring a team to a decision with or without the formal authority to do so by “Reversing the momentum of negative interactions”.
This means that when you notice a team is stuck in discussing a problem, you say or do something to shift the energy toward finding a solution, by saying something like “I think we’ve done a great job of establishing the problem, what are we going to do about it? What’s our next step?” This type of momentum reversal is a kind of judo move that anyone can do whether CEO, new hire, or anywhere in-between.
Second: There is no such thing as a perfect plan. So please, Don’t Wait for Perfection.
As one of the keystones of our practice, we help organizations write and execute their strategies. Although every challenge is unique, we have found this constant truth: An 80 percent complete strategy brilliantly executed always beats a 100 percent finished strategy badly executed. As General George S. Patton said, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
We have worked with organizations who tend to get stuck in analysis paralysis while trying to complete a project. Sometimes a strategic-planning client wants to reassess and reevaluate their carefully thought-out initiatives rather than begin implementing them. We call this the postponed perfection syndrome.
According to Harvard research, in using our Accountability Method™, our clients implement their strategies at almost 8x the rate of most organizations. They’ve learned how to make and execute their decisions, even when outcomes are uncertain. They achieve greatness because they are willing to take action during unstable times, when their competitors would rather play it safe by talking instead of doing.
Our clients have learned that if you have 4 out of 5 data points needed to make a decision – Make That Decision! Having all five data points is not a guarantee of anything, as your changing environment and/or new data may require a change. An 80% solution is usually enough to get started.
We would rather see our clients follow a procedure we call Decide, Execute, Adjust.
1. Decide how you will begin doing something,
2. Begin doing it (get out ahead of your competitors), and
3. Stay present and aware of data telling you when and how you need to change.
Make your next step identifying a decision your team is failing to make and invite them to crystalize and begin to execute what some of your team members may still be calling “an imperfect plan”.
Say something like “I think we have enough information to proceed with a decision” or “Can we begin to execute based on the information we have and adjust as we go?”
While this type of action may not be completely comfortable for everyone on your team, it will keep you ahead of your competitors.
As always, we appreciate your attention, and for additional ideas, follow me on twitter: @HenryJEvans
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