LeadershipDecisionMost business leaders make business decisions all day long. Making decisions will likely be the most repeated act of an engaged leader.

If you’re not making decisions, then you’re not a leader – or you’ve fully implemented Holocracy [ask me].

Therefore, the decisions the leader makes, may have the biggest impact on the success of the company.

This also means that your decisions provide a significant margin for error.

When you make a decision, a lot is at stake.

Your associates will constantly request and watch you make decisions.  When they ask you to make a call, and you quickly and decisively do so, they may very well lose respect for you.  Screech!  What do you say?

Employees are looking for decisiveness, right?  Sure; when it is appropriate.

But, if you make that requested decision without considering all of the variables – and the requestors know it, you may quickly lose their respect.  “Variables?  What variables?

“I knew right away that I would decide to do the thing that will minimize our risks.”  Ah.  So the only criteria you used was exposure to risk.

How about these other variables?

  1. Does this decision set a Precedent that could haunt me later?

Team Member –May I have a PTO day without the required notice?”
Leader –Sure!

Well… this leader just established everyone in the company can as well!  Uh oh. They tried to be nice – and ignored precedent.

Will this decision establish a potentially regrettably precedent?

  1. Are there Risks involved in my decision and what are they?

Team Member – I’d like to change two minor aspects of our marketing mix”

Leader – When this works, will  you know which change worked?”

Team Member – Hm.  You’re right.  I’ll try one change at a time.”

Well… this leader sensed a risk in a potential negative result and not even knowing why.  But this insightful and sensitive leader offered a positive scenario to build confidence, helped the team member learn on their own with no lecture, and – most important – minimized the risk.

What are the Risks in making this decision?

  1.   What are the Implications to making this decision?

Team Member – I’d like to start testing our rising higher conveyors to reduce the issues found in the field.”

Leader – Excellent thought!  How much difference is there between the height of our tallest conveyor and the height of our manufacturing facility?”

Team Member – There would be one model that would need to be tested outside but we can make an exception if weather is a factor.”

Well… This leader again reinforced a good idea but quickly and carefully assured the team member had considered an important implication of the change.  Of course, he/she would then ask for a list of other potential implications.

What are the Implications of this decision?

  1.   Are the appropriate people Collaborating on the decision?

Team Member – If we switch our product vendor, we’ll have fewer quality issues.”

Leader – You’re right!  Now, we’ll also have a few less trim options available so we would need to present this change to our sales, marketing and product teams first so all expectations are managed.”

Well… a few less trim options may not be a show stopper but, if this team member doesn’t consider it in the decision process, they’ll have a salesperson wondering later why they made this change – at least without discussion.

Are all the correct people Collaborating on this decision?

  1.   Could any Core Value be compromised by this decision?

Team Member – A customer is upset about a quality issue.  It’s a problem with our supplier.”

Leader – Can we say that?”

Team Member – No.  We never compromise our Core Values and integrity as well as accountability would be compromised if we sound like we’re passing the buck.”

Well… This leader did his/her job well as their team member knew their Core Values and refused to consider a compromise.  This had to be a proud moment.

Could this decision compromise our Core Values in any way?

  1.   Who needs to Know about your decision?

Team Member – I’d like to make this small change in how Inside Sales handles technical issues.”

Leader – I agree with the change but you’ll need to make sure IT knows so the scope for our new software is altered as well.”

Well… This often overlooked consideration burns many leaders and companies.  After every single decision, there will likely be a list of people and teams who need to know.  Effective team members do not love surprises!

Who needs to Know about this decision?

  1.   Is there a Safety concern with this decision?

As in # 3 – Team Member – I’d like to start testing our rising higher conveyors to reduce the issues found in the field.”

Well… testing a vertical conveyor in inclement weather could put your workers at-risk.  This is unacceptable because nothing lowers morale and raises your workman comp rate like injuries.

Are we putting anyone at a Safety risk with this decision?

There you have it.  Seven important considerations you should review at the time every decision is made. Can you easily remember them?

The bold/underlined letters for each consideration create an acronym.  It might be an unfortunate combination of letters, and I’d be grateful for something less edgy.

Precedent

Risks

Implications

Collaboration

Core Values

Know

Safety

Running every business decision through your PRICCKS filter works.

Give it try.  Write it down for a few weeks and you’ll soon not need to refer to your notes. 20 years later, I still meet colleagues and clients that tell me they abide by the PRICCKS filter – because It works.

I hope this lesson on business decision making, is thought provoking for our readers.

All the best to you and your company!

Doug

When you’re green, you’re growing; when you’re ripe, you’re rotten