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Decision Making

Continuing to try to give readers a glimpse into my world as CEO of a mid-sized Canadian company I thought I would talk about some of the issues around decision making. Certainly one of the joys, and frustrations, in running a business is developing and executing on a strategy for success.

The joy comes from struggling through the many challenges that can be barriers to success, developing a strategy that has tangible, measurable steps and then executing on that strategy. That is a beautiful thing! Harnessing the brain power of a talented management team, managing the differing opinions and reaching a consensus on "the plan" and then coming up with the road map for success! A successful decision process!

The frustration comes because in reality it doesn't always work like that! This world of ours is not black and white, in fact there are many shades of grey! So, sometimes (often?) even the combined brainpower of a whole management team does not come up with "the answer". As the leader it is your job to decide how to proceed. If there are differing opinions for strategy then you need to find the right balance, without alienating the various contributors. If there is no clear answer to the problem, then you might choose to abandon the project ... or you can seek advice elsewhere ... or you can continue on your current path and make small adjustments for improvement while still seeking that clear strategy for success. None of these actions are wrong, but choosing the right path can be challenging.

The worst thing that you can do is ... nothing! As a leader, of anything, you need to be decisive and action oriented. In my world those decisions may well be governed some kind of cost benefit analysis. Wikipedia's definition of decision making includes links to a ton of material on the subject. It includes reference to your personal decisions making style based on the Myers Briggs indicator ... I am an ESTJ as far as I remember. It is worth looking through their reference to SWOT analysis, strategic planning and many other ways that companies make decisions.

A lesson from my experience on decision making ... if you are the leader, the buck stops here!