While business leaders must display intelligence, good judgment, and curiosity in both at work and in their daily lives, perhaps one of the most important traits they need to display is the ability to make decisions. Sometimes those decisions are controversial, but they need to be made with confidence and also with the ability to persuade others. Without this, businesses can get stuck in a rut and miss out on valuable growth and development opportunities.
At American Lumber, we are always looking for ways to improve and refine how we make decisions. We are also intent on developing the decision-making talents that members in our organization poses. This allows everyone on our team to analyze a situation and assisting in creating the right plan of action.
Here are a few tips we have found useful in improving our decision-making process:
Understand your “gut instincts.” Many times business decisions are made off of “gut instinct.” However, it is important to recognize the limits of your “gut feeling” given the situation as it is not always the most reliable way to make important choices.
Decisions made at the gut level offer a higher level of risk and anyone that operates outside a proper decision-making framework and relies solely on their gut will eventually fall prey to an oversight, misinformation, or misunderstanding that could have a real impact on your business.
Make decisions with confidence. The level of complexity involved with most business operations requires a certain degree of situational analysis. Effective leaders understand that when a decision must be made, it has to be made with confidence and action must be swift. Leaders that possess this ability have a trait referred to as a “bias for action” which means they will come to a decision even without all of the necessary information at hand and move forward.
Understand when to adjust a decision made. With strong decisions comes the chance that you may need to quickly rescind or alter course as necessary. Confident decision makers must leave pride at the door and quickly determine if a decision made turns out to be the wrong one and adjusting course as needed.
A failure to evaluate your decisions, or unwillingness to admit mistakes is not a sign of strong leadership.
Know how to delegate. It is important to understand that a leader does not have to make every decision by him or herself. In fact, the best leaders are able to delegate key decisions to some of their capable team members. This gives them the ability to act on their own and for the betterment of the business.
It is up to the business owner or CEO to support these decisions but also request an explanation for their reasoning if the action does not appear to be justifiable on the surface.
Analyze the effects of important decisions. When a decision has been made, and action has been taken, most leaders just move right along to the next problem facing their business. However, plenty can be learned from examining the aftermath of a previous situation.
It is important that strong business leaders reexamine key metrics and performance after a decision is made to take a particular course of action. This allows businesses and business leaders to grow in their decision-making abilities.
It seems as though almost any day can call for a business leader to make a decision that has an impact on the health of his or her business. In the hardwood lumber industry, for us that could mean anything from buying green lumber, bidding on a tract of timber, or even deciding what species to saw next at our mills, whether that is Red Oak, White Oak, Cherry, Ash, etc. We understand that by keeping these tips in mind that it can help us clarify our decision-making process and allow us to even change course if needed.
What methods have you used to refine or improve your decision-making processes?