Decision making in your organization is like the pistons of a car engine. The rate and effectiveness with which employees make decisions equates to the speed with which your organization moves down the road to success.

The leaders above you may think that pushing down on the gas pedal increases the speed of the pistons. But you know it’s not pressure that accelerates performance. Fuel and air (the result of pushing on the gas pedal) are what cause better and faster decisions to occur.

Therefore, you differentiate yourself as a leader when you support the organization in making better decisions sooner (particularly if you’re at the level where the pistons are firing).

We know that deep alignment is required for better decision making. And so is operating with a shared reality. Beyond these two disciplines, here are 4 tips to making better, faster decisions:

1. At the beginning of the meeting (rather than at the end or not at all) ask: How are we going to make this decision? Collaboratively? By consensus? Autocratically?

2. When debate seems to be lasting too long, ask: Can we disagree with the decision and still commit to executing? (Warning: If colleagues say yes, follow with this question: What does it look like to fully commit?)

3. Ask: What are the criteria stakeholders outside this meeting want us to use when making this decision?

4. Decision making is risk taking. However, the fears that often delay decision making (sometimes for years), are not business hazards. The biggest risk is damage to careers or reputations of colleagues. Be the leader who mitigates these risks—and your colleagues will reward you.

Bonus: “To-do” lists, “parking lot items” or “let’s take this offline” are often veiled methods for delaying decision making. When a well-intentioned colleague suggests such a deviation, ask: “What’s the conversation the business needs us to have right now together? What’s necessary for us to make the decision right now?”

Your organization is likely built for greater speed: Fuel the pistons. Make decisions that matter.



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