19 Apr The art of the decision: Why you need to teach the next level to make the call
de•ci•sion – noun: decision; plural noun: decisions
“A conclusion or resolution reached after consideration”
When transitioning entrepreneurial companies and their Senior Management Team (SMT) to the next level of performance, the biggest stumbling block is making decisions. More often than not, ultimate decisions up to that point have been made by you, the entrepreneur, partly because you’re used to making them. But in reality, the reason that’s the case is because of the management team’s inability and unwillingness to make those decisions.
It’s either because they’re not used to having the last word on the matter or because they fear being wrong—or both. In any case, their inaction is a direct result of the boss having always walked in and made a decision for them, time after time…year after year. And in the early stages of building your business, that probably worked well for you. Now, however, you find it nearly impossible to begin stepping away and transitioning more routine day-to-day control over to the SMT because of their paralysis.
What comes naturally to you and me as entrepreneurs is foreign to the next level for a couple reasons. First, if they wanted to assume the risk associated with making those decisions, they’d be running their own company and not working for you. Second, it’s way more comfortable having someone else make the decision and assume the responsibility when things don’t quite work out. Sounds crazy sad, I know, but it’s the truth.
So it’s our job to help them re-define and therefore see the act of decision making not as a science, where the answers are always black and white, but more as an art. As the modern definition above states, a decision is drawing a conclusion or resolution based on current facts and information. In other words, it’s simply another step in the process of business. Not the 11th Commandment.
So in order to help the SMT understand the art over science concept, I suggest you employ the maxim “It was a good idea at the time”—meaning that all decisions are made with the information at hand, and once made, new information begins coming in either confirming or discounting the decision.
Teach your team that no conclusion or resolution is 100 percent wrong, just off base 10 to 20 percent— and they now need to figure out what isn’t working and make another decision. At first they may see it as exhausting, but hey, that’s real life, and unless this concept is embraced by your SMT, you will forever be tethered to your company.
As always – These are my thoughts, I could be wrong. So, if you disagree or simply want to mix in a few more metaphors, please do so. I look forward to the conversation.
Dwain – CEO Rider