Leaders play many roles. One key role is decision making. Decision making brings clarity, energy and purpose to the entire organisation. Your team and the wider organisation expects you to take calls, shape direction and move things forward.

Yet how often do you see teams getting bogged down in internal discussion and alignments. Time is lost, often opportunities are passed by because someone somewhere is unwilling or unable to make a decision.

Now re craft your role into CDMO – Chief Decision Making Officer. Your job is to make high quality decisions at speed that help everyone move forward. How can you get better at decision making – here are 5 habits of great CDMOs 

First remember decision is preferable to indecision. Decision means movement and indecision means stagnation. Hence the ability to choose a direction is always preferable to constantly debating and being stuck at the cross roads. What if you make the wrong decision – even then speed of decision making matters. One great example comes from a military training exercise. The platoon leader attacking the enemy force had 2 paths to choose and was unsure which one to take. He took a fast decision to go to the first path and his tank hit a mine, disabling his tracks. Since he had moved ahead so fast the rest of the platoon quickly learnt, pivoted and moved to the second path. They successfully outflanked the enemy and won the engagement.

Second listen first and speak last – listening will bring you most of the relevant information you need to make a decision. A very simple exercise of “what do you think” to different team members will give you very good points of view from people with different experiences. In a team call you can do the same, asking everyone to share their view or even vote on the issue. 

Third become an expert in your field. If you are in marketing you will be asked to judge campaigns. If you are in finance you will evaluate business cases. If you are in supply chain you will be assessing sourcing sites and logistics and demand plans. You get better in your field when you make more decisions. So study your space. Read about case studies, best practices and listen to interviews of leaders. As you understand the space better, you will make better decisions consistently.

Fourth record your choices and results. Keep a simple diary to remember the different calls you took and how did they turn out. Did the launch go well ? Did the new recruit perform well ? what were the lessons learnt ? how would you do things differently ?

Fifth simulate your decisions and fix some criteria. For instance imagine the following situations

  • New candidate applies for your company – what are the top 5 things you want to know to help decide whether to hire or not – list down the criteria
  • A proposal to launch a new product in front of you – based on what you see and have learnt – what are the top 3 criteria that will decide its success – what do you want to know – list down the criteria

You know what kjnd of decisions are sent your way everyday. You can simulate them today.

Remember when you become a CDMO people will come to you for decisions. They know you decide, you take calls and you move things forward.

Decide to become better at decisions today.


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