As an organizational change management consultant, I work with companies that struggle to embrace change. Grand visions can be stifled by inability to execute the work. Too many choices blur the right choice and frustration sets in.
But that doesn’t have to be your story. Leaders are made based on their ability to make decisions and manage risk. Practicing the art of great decision-making allows you to focus on growing your legacy, your people, and it can ultimately lead others to Christ.
You want to prevent your organization from making decision-making mistakes that lead to costly projects, low employee engagement, and limited growth. Here are three ways to avoid common mistakes:
Craft clear guidelines
Without proper decision-making guidelines, our ability to make effective decisions is at risk. Minimal guidance increases the probability for indecision, limited action, and less than optimal results.
Create decision guidelines that align with your organization’s mission, vision, and priorities. It’s best if you have fewer than 10 decision guidelines and they are widely communicated. After all, if you fail to communicate, even the best decision guidelines are irrelevant.
If your organization struggles with the need for consensus, then a potential decision guideline may sound like, “We trust our colleagues to make decisions and understand that for the sake of speed, all cannot be included in the decision-making process.”
Some organizations thrive on a consensus-based culture. In such organizations, people may have been rewarded and recognized for giving voice to every individual. That process can generate a greater amount of ideas, but it comes with a high cost of lower speed of adoption and agility.
It’s important to remember that everyone in your organization has a role to play when it comes to significant decisions. Assign who is responsible, who is accountable, who needs to be consulted, and who needs to be informed.
Empower your people
When one leader makes most of the decisions in your organization, it’s likely to result in faster task completion but with a potentially damaging aftermath. When decision-making is not adequately shared throughout the organization, neither is risk and accountability.
Leaders empower people by delegating authority, which increases team engagement. The role of a leader is to set a vision, equip people to move toward that vision, provide guidance, and enable others to lead. Decision-making is critical in establishing ownership, and when there’s ownership, engagement follows. Great leaders sparingly use the “golden vote,” or the right to veto decisions, and allow others to share in the commitments, failures, and successes.
Pam Marmon is the CEO of Marmon Consulting, a change management consulting firm that provides strategy and execution services to help companies transform. Growing up in Bulgaria and moving to America has taught her to be adaptable and resilient to change. Marmon and her family live in Nashville.