In its simplest sense, decision making is the act of choosing between two or more courses of action. However, it must always be remembered that there may not always be a ‘correct’ decision among the available choices. In hindsight everyone could be brilliant. Hindsight might not be able to correct past mistakes, but it will aid improved decision making in the future.
“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” – Tony Robbins
However, strangely, I’ve encountered too many people who cannot consider alternatives or choices to make an appropriate decision. They are good at discussing why a decision cannot be made and continue to focus on the problem and not a solution. The general approach is not to have a commitment to a decision but be flexible. The beauty is how such an awful decision making approach is justified, by saying “we shouldn’t be stubborn”, “it should be participative” “we should make the right decision” or “we should be consultative.”
There are leaders who use this weakness in the decision making ability of team members by asking them for an opinion after making the decision, knowing very well that it will not be disputed. If they find that one intelligent person is challenging the logic or the alternatives considered in a decision, they will raise their voice or take an aggressive stand to swing the others to support or even to keep silent. Eventually silence is treated as acceptance. The organization suffers due to such wrong or inferior quality of decisions.
Then there are leaders who make decisions that are not consistent with priorities. We give lip service to one thing, claiming it is a priority in our lives, yet we make decisions that detract us from the very thing we say is the most important to us. However, we can make better choices if priorities are considered in the decision process.
To make good decisions, there are times we need to say “no.” This is hard for many to do, since we think we need to be all things to all people. The truth is, we don’t have to. All we have to do is say, “I’m sorry I can’t, I have another commitment” or “sorry I don’t agree.” Steve Jobs referred to Apple’s success as, “It comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much.”