How Leaders Turn Good Decisions into Great Decisions

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Updated from April 13, 2012 post

How do you help your team go from making good decisions to making great decisions?

It starts by understanding that there is no such thing as a team decision.

Every decision made in your organization must have someone’s name written next to it.

Someone must own the outcome. Someone must pace around their office thinking through every ramification and potential hurdle.

In his Harvard Business Review blog postIf You Think Your Team Makes Decisions, Think Again, Bob Frisch wrote, “Executive teams may discuss issues, debate courses of action, and even give their stamps of approval, but they actually don’t decide anything of moment as a group… It is the leader, not the group, who ultimately allows that particular decision to go through.”

So, if your goal is great decisions how should you work with your team?

1.  Start by clarifying roles and responsibilities.

Instead of saying, “Team, we have a decision to make today,” it should be, “Team, I have a decision to make today, (or “Susan has a decision to make today”) and your help is required.”

2.   Set the decision-maker up for success.

If you have given Susan the responsibility for a decision, you must also confer on her the authority to make that decision. Let the team know that it’s her call. And it’s her responsibility to ensure its success.

3.   Coach the team in how to support the decision.

Individual members of the team may, or may not, agree with the decision reached by you or Susan. Your job becomes coaching the team on how to support that decision even when they disagree.

One of the key members of our team will regularly consult with me when I’ve made a tough decision. If he doesn’t agree with me he will always say, “Scott, I see this differently. But I will support you 100%.”

That’s how you turn good decisions into great decisions.

Always make sure that every decision has a name written next to it. Make sure it is clear who has the responsibility and authority to make a call, and coach your team toward honest feedback and support of decisions made.

Committing to this process could be one of the best leadership decisions you’ll ever make.

How do you work with your team in the decision making process?

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.


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