Leaders make them everyday
Making a tough decision requires clarity of thought. All too often we are rushed into making a decision because it suits someone else’s narrative (how they want things done). Ugh – I can hear you sighing right now 😉
The key to making a good decision during a tough situation is to regain control of each moment. I’m not going to lie to you – it takes commitment, a little bit of nerve and settling on a process to overcome such a hurdle!
I have five rules when it comes to making a tough decision. They are:
1. There is always time!
Slow things down. Stop for a moment. Do you need 5 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, half a day or 24 hours, maybe even longer?
Make the call!
2. Tell others around you to breathe
Put you hand up and tell those who are fighting for your time to stop. Let them know they can catch up with you later. You might be lucky enough to have an assistant who can do this for you.
When those who try to monopolise your time stop to take a breath, it means you get a chance to breathe too.
3. Examine the pros and cons.
Draw up a list and look at the push/pull factors regarding the decision required. This can be done on a piece of paper or through using software, or the good old (non-powered) whiteboard (or blackboard). You can even use chalk on the ground if need be.
This is more about the psychology of an issue – the brain understanding why someone will support or not support a required course of action. Kurt Lewin called this Force Field Analysis. In essence you are trying to work out quickly whether a current situation needs a solution or whether it needs to change.
On the pro side list the favourable issues and allocate a score of one to five for each factor. Repeat this on the con (negative) side. One is lowest, five is highest.
Add the totals for each side. If the total on the pro side is higher than the total for the con side then you can push ahead with your solution or required change . If the total on the con side is higher than the pro side, then you know you will meet sufficient resistance to stop solving the issue in question.
4. Use a sounding board.
The purpose here is to identify any further flaws or loopholes with your solution. If there are, then improve your solution accordingly.
Who is your go to person? Perhaps they are a mentor, trusted colleague or friend. Is it your team? Bounce your solution or proposed options past them.
5. Commit to a course of action.
Once you have settled on a solution – do it at the agreed time. With your solution in train, you will feel so much better, a feeling of composure will return and you will find yourself ready for the next challenge!!!