“Is the role of the manager to make decisions, or to make sure that decisions get made? The answer, of course, is both — but many managers focus so much on the first role that they neglect the second. The reality, however, is that decision-making often is not a solo activity, but rather an orchestrated process by which the manager engages other people in reaching a conclusion. Doing this effectively not only improves the quality of the decision, but also ensures that everyone is more committed to its implementation.”
Making good decisions is a critical skill for people everyone and especially leaders. Yet, we often have not been trained how to make decisions and we also fail to train other in how to make decisions.
Also, Kouzes and Posner, in their book A Coach’s Guide To Developing Exemplary Leaders, recommend asking these questions of your team when you are helping them make decisions:
- How do you see . . . ?
- What if we . . .?
- What do you think about . . .?
- How do you believe we could . . .?
- Have you ever . . .?
These questions are good starters for conversations about how people make choices about their work.
The key thing to remember is that there is a science to making decisions. It is a skill to be learned and to be taught. It doesn’t just happen. So become a skilled craftsman and an accomplished teacher in the science (and art) of decision-making.
Blessings on you day!
Often times the “cap” on our teams performance is us. Often when they come to us with a situation that needs a decision we quickly make it for them (we like to make decisions and we’re good at it right?). The problem is, that often instead of helping them, we have actually disempowered them and taken ownership of the challenge away from them.
So try adding these questions to your “portfolio” to use with your team members. I believe you will enjoy the growth that you see as a result.
What do you think we ought to do?
What are your two or three suggestions for this issue?
How do you see . . .?
What if we . . .?
Have you ever considered . . .?
How would you handle this situation? Why?
What do you think is keeping us from moving forward?
The key is, after you ask – LISTEN!! And act on their suggestions as often as you can. Remember, we want them to be the hero – not us.
Blessings on your day from a very hot southwest Michigan!
Biases can and do distort our reasoning – especially when making important decisions. Things such as confirmation bias, anchoring, loss aversion, and etc. These cognitive biases and others have the potential for distorting our judgment.
In an article in the Harvard Business Review, “Before You Make That Big Decision . . .” the authors suggest a “decision quality control checklist” of 12 questions to use to help discover defects or biases in the decision-making process.
“Is there any reason to suspect motivated errors or errors driven by the self-interest of the recommending team?
Have the people making the recommendation fallen in love with it?
Were there dissenting opinions within the recommending team? (NOTE – regardless of its cause, an absence of dissent in a team addressing a complex problem should sound an alarm)
Could the diagnosis of the situation be overly influenced by salient analogies? (In other words, is it too heavily tied to a past success story?)
Have credible alternatives been considered?
If you had to make this decision again in a year, what information would you want, and can you get more of it now?
Do you know where the numbers came from? (Are the numbers fact or just estimates? Who put the first number on the table?)
Can you see a halo effect?
Are the people making the recommendation overly attached to past decisions?
Is the base case overly optimistic?
Is the worst case bad enough? (Check out the post on the “premortem” – click here)
Is the recommending team overly cautious?”
These questions can be a powerful tool in rooting out defects in thinking of a decision making team.
Blessings on your week!