Every decision is a calculated risk.
Problems are solved by making decisions; problems are avoided by making good decisions. The sooner you make a decision, the sooner you benefit from it. The earlier you make a bad decision, the sooner you can correct it.
The unanimous response from CEOs and C-level executives when I’ve asked the question, “What’s the most difficult part of your job?” has been “Responsibility for decisions.” And when I’ve asked them, “What’s the best part of your job?” the nearly unanimous response has been “Freedom to make decisions.”
These CEOs have given me some of their insights on decision making:
“It’s better to have the burden of making them yourself than having to work under decisions others make for you.”
“You will never be sure that you are right, but you have to make them anyway. It’s never the slam dunk that you want.”
“If you are absolutely sure you’re going to have a successful outcome, make it clear that your team came up with it to share the glory in the decision making. If you are not sure, take it upon yourself and say, ‘I recommend this’ so you don’t share the blame and defeat.”
“If you take a chance and it’s rewarding, great. If it’s a kick [in the] ass decision, you have to deal with it.”
“You will have many sleepless nights trying to make decisions because you know they can adversely affect people and their families.”
“You want to be the one who makes others’ choices. You shouldn’t let someone else make yours. A good decision is to tell a subordinate ‘You decide’ and then support him.
“Decisions need to be what’s best for the whole, not just what’s best for you.”
Debra Benton is co-author with Kylie Wight-Ford of The Leadership Mind Switch (McGraw-Hill, 2017)