Leadership Nugget #4: Which Is The Better Decision Making Approach?

“German and American teams were assigned the task of reaching consensus on a complex task. The German groups generated 30% fewer possible solution statements than the American teams but more than twice as many statements focusing on various problems (i.e., inadequate information)”.
Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock, University of Amsterdam

So which is better?
• Prefer clarity over uncertainty: Develop substantial background information before making decisions
• Create Speed: Quickly come up with solutions, beat the competition to the marketplace, often before having a complete analysis of the situation?

Leadership Lesson: Decision-making is perhaps the most critical leadership skills. It is decision making that reflects philosophy and forms the style of the leader. People become very frustrated when their leaders will not make decisions and they become very frustrated when their leaders make bad decisions or decisions that have to be continually modified. They become frustrated when decisions are inconsistent and unpredictable.

Leaders must distinguish decisions that must be made quickly and those that should take time, analysis and rigor but both types are required.

Decisions that can be made more quickly:
• We have successfully made this type of decision before
• We know and have the data we need
• People will support the decision when made
Decisions that must be made more slowly:
• We have never faced or successfully made this kind of decision
• We do not know or have the data we need
• People will not support the decision without involvement

It is wise not to confuse the two situations!

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