How to Make Better Executive Decisions

Small business owners and managers are above all else, decision makers. Everyday most executives are engaged in some form of decision making. Between exchanging information, implementing directives, and evaluating any alternatives; the role of a decision maker is never simple.

As much as we’d like to believe every decision we make will be both rational, and impactful to our business, it’s often not the case. Various decision-making styles exist, and as much as some might be right for your business, other patterns should be carefully avoided. Here are a few tips to help.

Recognize when you’re biding time. 

When making executive decisions, search for the best options, but know when that search is becoming a waste of everyone’s time. When gathering information and compiling a number of solutions for an issue, make sure you’re not waiting for the “best” option to pop up suddenly, when the solutions you have currently will do just fine. You could be keeping yourself from making a reasonable decision because you’re avoiding a difficult choice.

Try not to spend a considerable amount of time looking for a perfect solution where one might not exist. Give yourself a set amount of time to make a decision, and stick to that time limit.

Decide when it’s time for outside help. 

It’s often that we try to solve all business issues internally. In most cases, this isn’t harmful. However, be willing to make an executive decision to look for and obtain outside help for those areas of the company that you’re struggling to manage. You need to trust your gut, and that sometimes means deciding to entrust an outside company to help in the areas in which you’re struggling.

Beware the “yes-man”. 

Be wary of those who say what you want to hear solely to curry your favor. If we’re being honest though, the worst yes-man is your own self. Don’t mold new information to fit your current viewpoint, it only causes overconfidence. Don’t presume you’re fairly backing up your opinions with facts. Before making executive decisions, look at all the presented information as objectively as possible. Don’t just go with what’s most comfortable, or favorable at the moment.

Encourage the team to speak up. 

Executive decisions will only be brought about by you, but realize your blind spots. You may think you have the clearest information to make a confident decision, but remember that your team will likely have differing perspectives. You and your team share the same objective: to help keep the company successful. Trust your team, build up relationships, and give them the chance to speak up. They may hold solutions you never thought of.

Not only do people have a hard time speaking honestly with higher-ups, but it’s not a stretch to say that higher-ups find it a challenge to listen. Cultivate cooperation, and open up the lines of communication. Feedback is key to making the right decision for the health of your business.

View the “data” firsthand. 

Figure out what’s going right, and set up strategies for when things go wrong. Executives can overlook the importance of setting up their “Key Performance Indicators”. So much of decision making comes down to understanding the strengths and weaknesses within your company. Where are you faltering, what are your long-term goals, and are they time sensitive?

Decisions are often based on much more than what’s happening on the day to day, and most require the extensive understanding of your current management program. Simply put, key performance indicators refer to a goal that the company wants to reach and the steps that its employees must take to help the company reach said goal. With those keys in place, it’ll be easier to make decisions that are both effective and efficient.

Figure Out How

Each of us has a unique decision-making style. Whether we’re praised for our concise decision-making skills, or tend to be more malleable; a greater understanding on how you’re making your decisions can result in them being made with greater care.

Maybe your current decision-making style isn’t working for the given situation. Be willing to adapt, delegate when it’s appropriate, and recognize the blind spots. Learning flexibility, and gaining greater self-knowledge will help you make decisions you’ll feel confident about.
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