Have you ever seen a decision-making process go so horribly wrong that you really wondered if anything could pull it out of the ditch?
It’s an excruciating sight to witness. Facts are being gathered, discussions are being held, research is being conducted, opinions are being sought, and yet no one seems to be actually moving towards making a decision.
But these decision-delays can be avoided. The key is to pay attention to these three warning signs:
Warning Sign #1: You Keep Asking, “What if I Get It Wrong?”
The bigger the decision, the more likely it is that this question can keep haunting your thinking.
The idea that you might make the wrong call can be paralyzing. Leaders who view themselves as being perfectionists are particularly vulnerable to this problem. Wanting to ensure that every decision achieves the optimum outcome, such leaders would rather live in the pain of a non-decision than to actually risk making the wrong call.
Want to stay out of the decision-delaying ditch? Learn to move past “What if I get it wrong?” thinking.
Warning Sign #2: You Keep Asking, “What will they think of me?”
The leader who covets popularity above decisiveness will see key decisions languishing in the decision-delaying ditch for day after day, week after week, even month after month.
I need to be particularly careful regarding this ditch. The “people-pleaser” in me needs to be reminded that my first leadership responsibility is to the mission, not to my popularity.
Accept it. Not everyone will support your decision. Deal with it, make the call, and move forward.
Warning Sign #3: You Keep Asking, “What If I Don’t Have Enough Information?”
Some leaders are just information junkies; they will continue to amass information as long as they possibly can.
I was once part of a team that spent almost a year gathering information regarding an impending decision. In the end, it was clear that our obsession with fact-finding was simply a delay tactic. We were just avoiding making a tough call.
Keep out of the “information overload” decision-delaying ditch. Gather the essential information you need, and no more. Then make the call.
In leadership, a delayed decision can be worse than no decision at all. So keep your team moving forward and keep things out of the decision-delaying ditch.
You can start by watching for these warning signs.