Publications & Products
Volume 1, Issue 33

How to Be More Decisive

Managers should be able to make decisions in a timely manner without being paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake, say a handful of leadership gurus.

CBS MoneyWatch recently published an article outlining some ways that managers can be more decisive. Some of the suggestions include:

  • Define priorities. Elaine Verelas, partner at a career-management firm, says managers should identify the top five impact areas in the decision they are thinking of making and then weigh these to make the best choice. "Perhaps they are the short-term financial impact, long-term financial impact, people impact, growth impact and culture impact," she adds. "Do the pros and cons for each of these areas."
  • Ask smarter questions. "It's the manager's job to ignite conversation and to be a catalyst for dialogue," says Bob Boudreau, chief executive of a staffing firm. "Ask the contrarian questions, be the devil's advocate-push your team through a thoughtful and proactive decision-making process where the tough questions have been addressed and the creative ideas have been considered."
  • Set a decision deadline. "Make the time-frame known to your team and at least one confidant or mentor so that you are held accountable to the dates," says Susan Steinbrecher, chief executive of a management consulting firm. "If you are especially risk-averse, ask your confidant [or] mentor to challenge you and point out when you are holding up the decision process."
  • Designate a devil's advocate. "Assign a team or person to challenge the status quo," Steinbrecher says. "For instance, if reviewing policy changes during a staff meeting, someone (regardless of his or her beliefs) must take the opposite view and build a case against it."
  • Bring in back-up. "Bounce things off a peer you trust outside of your organization," says Elizabeth Lions, author of Recession Proof Yourself. "Weigh out [his or her] feedback."
  • Stop the meetings. "Sometimes you just need to start heading in a direction," Lions says. "You can always change course midstream."

This article is from the Feb. 27, 2012 issue.

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