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Deciding to Decide

April 7, 2010

Deciding is a verb; it implies and requires action. It is an ongoing process not a final act. That’s one of the things Leaders get paid to do; take decisions when other shy away.  Gerry Robinson, former CEO of Granada and Coca Cola and known for “Can Gerry Robinson Fix the NHS” says;

“Taking responsibility is frightening. I’ve worked with people who won’t make decisions because they’re frightened and the business stagnates. When you see a successful business, it’s usually a sign that someone has had the courage to take a bold decision, to try something new.”

Decision-makingsometimes is taking a bold decision and sometimes it is just the courage to make a decision, any decision. Decision making is a practice and one that Leaders often view with trepidation, as if one decision will be the thing that you will be judged on forever more. And of course, if you only make that one decision, which your followers are waiting for with bated breath, that will be true. It will be what you are judged by, after all what else is there? By making your decision into something momentus, you will have turned it into a thing, something carved in stone or set in aspic. It will become your epitaph.

Sometimes we put off making decisions because we say we need more information and then we gather more of the same type, usually backing up what we already have, getting into analysis paralysis. Whereas, when a decision is made, however small, we get information of another type to inform our future decision-making. We get live (not theoretical), practical information about what works and what doesn’t. (This doing something, sometimes looks risky from the outside but really the risk is continuing to work in theory and not in practice. After all how do you know how it really works until we actually do something.?)

Make decision-making an ongoing process and you will get better decisions. Occasionally, these will be bold decisions and mostly they will be of the hum drum every day variety. But when you make a decision, any decision, they will be better decisions. After all, you would have had more practice as a decision maker and if you agree with Malcolm Gladwell’s theory in ‘Outliers’  you need put in 10,000 hours to really shine at anything. So stop putting off those decisions, log up the hours and lead the way.

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