3 Ways Your Fast Decisions Could Be Hurting Your Results

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Today’s leadership culture celebrates fast decision making. But the reality is, if your decisions are happening too quickly you could be doing more harm than good.

A recent Google search on the question, “How to make fast decisions” returned an astonishing 490,000,000 hits. Some of the articles that appeared carried titles like:

  • “How to Make Great Decisions, Quickly”

  • “How to Make Faster Decisions in 6 Steps”

  • “8 Ways to Make a Fast Decision”

Everyone, it seems, wants to make faster leadership decisions.

And there are some good reasons to strive to make quick decisions. Fast decisions create energy, they can resolve problems in a timely manner, and they can generate momentum.

But leaders should be aware of the hidden dangers in creating a culture of fast decisions. Because unchecked, relentlessly pursuing fast decisions can result in three culture-defeating challenges…

1. Fast Decisions Can Jeopardize Thoroughness

It’s true that you can research a problem to death. 

At the same time, in the mad dash to race to a quick decision, some leaders will sacrifice essential research.

Never be so fixated on making the quick call that you set aside the essential leadership virtues of thoughtfulness and diligence.

2. Fast Decisions Can Jeopardize Support

The bigger the decision, the more people who will be affected.

Effective leaders must be mindful that their decisions impact real people, whose perspective must be considered and weighed.

Making fast decisions without appropriate consultation can alienate the very people who need to support the decision you’re making.

3. Fast Decisions Can Jeopardize Clarity

“Does anyone understand why we’re doing this?”

On teams where fast decisions have become the gold standard of leadership, questions like this can be heard up and down the hallways.

And when leaders have not taken the time to slow down and to explain decisions, their teams will invariably create their own narrative.

And their interpretations could be very different than what the leader had in mind.

The point is not to slow down your decision-making. But recognize that along with the benefits of building a fast-paced organization, “speed decision-making” can have unexpected downsides.

So when you’re making your call, ask yourself these questions:

  1. Have we done our due-diligence…really?

  2. Have we carefully considered the impact on all of the stake-holders?

  3. Have we fully explained the reasons behind the decision?

Because the right decision, made the wrong way, can be worse than no decision at all.

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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