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The Power of Decisiveness

“Decisiveness makes you a stronger person within yourself. Your belief and confidence get elevated to a higher level. So be decisive and take action.”
Asad Meah

There’s no way around the fact that some decisions are tough and will face sharp criticism, sometimes executive decisions will cost jobs, and those are never easy. Our choices should come from seeing the long-term impact on the organization. Leading well is more important than being popular.

As leaders, we face many tough decisions and often weigh many unpopular options.

  • With whom should we discuss our options?

  • Should we hire someone who’s been fired from their previous position?

  • Should we release a member of our executive team? When and How

  • Should we inform another leader about a problem on their team?

Indecision has undermined many promising careers

Do you mentally and emotionally prepare for difficult decisions? Good leaders take on the challenges, are intentionally decisive, stand by their choices, and accept the consequences.

  • Ask yourself how well you handle tough decisions.

  • Do you put off making difficult choices? How often? Why?

  • Do not delegate, delay or avoid uncomfortable conversations.

An undisciplined lifestyle often causes indecision. Being disciplined requires self-control, the motivation to develop and maintain good habits, and a practical work ethic.

The acronym “To Do” is a simple tool that has helped me get started:

Take action utilizing accurate data and instincts to develop and schedule the next steps.

Our decisions are never to be personal or emotionally driven.

Don’t waste time and energy delaying decisions or second-guessing ourselves.

Our focus should be our vision, B.M.A.,* and the positive outcomes in view.

In his 30 years working with executives, Ron Carucci says, “I’ve heard leaders commonly use three rationalizations for putting off difficult decisions. By understanding the consequences of these excuses, you can work to avoid them.

“I’m being considerate of others.” For some leaders, the thought of estranging those they lead with a difficult call is paralyzing. I’ve heard leaders say things like, “Morale is already low. I hate to add to their stress.” The real issue is that many leaders don’t want to disappoint their people.

“I’m committed to quality and accuracy.” For leaders who struggle with the ambiguity that often comes with decisions that have long-term implications, the anxiety over being wrong can be consuming. They try to impose certainty by analyzing more data and soliciting more opinions, but the real issue is their fear of looking stupid.

“I want to be seen as fair.” In a world of headlines about leaders mistreating people with harsh and unfair expectations and bonuses calculated on employee engagement scores, many leaders fear being seen as uncaring or playing favorites. This has become especially true in a world where everyone gets a “participation trophy” because leaders falsely believe acknowledging differences in performance is the same as showing different levels of respect.” (1)

Integrity isn’t automatic; it requires self-discipline to develop. Decisiveness demands courage when the stakes are high. The relentless pursuit of authenticity in all we think, say, and do is that attribute of fearlessness in doing the right thing (to the best of our knowledge) that marks our lives with character and stability in the moment of choice.

“Decisiveness is a characteristic of high-performing men and women. Almost any decision is better than no decision at all.”
Brian Tracy

End Notes

* Business Model Alignment

(1) Harvard Review “Leaders, Stop Avoiding Hard Decisions” by Ron Carucci

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