Big data is Everything. Analytics are King. Business leaders have more information at their fingertips today than ever before. However, with all these reports, databases, spreadsheets, and software systems, you would think that being a leader is a piece of cake. We have more information, yet we may have too much information.
If you went to college for undergraduate studies or an advanced degree there were/are many tools, theories and ideas on decision making. Perhaps we have so many ways of making decisions that it makes decision making, well, harder than ever. Should we use a SWOT for that? Or a decision-based flow chart? Or maybe channel Ben Franklin with a list of pros and cons? Go ahead Google it. I got 599 million pages of articles, books, blogs and models all on decision making!
Have you ever been the leader that takes over a job, a department, maybe even a whole company? So many expect you to set the tone and direction. It takes time, intuition, meetings with employees, and customers to get a sense of things that are good and things that need fixing. The idea of making big, important, strategic decisions sounds better in theory than actually doing it. And I propose there is a basic fundamental reason why.
1. Trust your gut. If you have ever noticed that reaction or feeling you have about a key issue or topic, and perhaps later you realized you were right? Learn to react to your insights.
2. When you’re not sure—talk to customers. I am not sure much needs to be said about this one other than time with customers is energizing. And this can free your thought process about where you need to better serve your customers and your business.
3. Keep at it, but keep it simple. When I was first learning to lead I was taught three simple words for decision making: SEE, THINK, and ACT.
If you pull back and think about it, most of us try to ACT too quickly. We don’t look at all of the reports and data. We don’t meet with customers and employees. We want to make the decision to simply make it go away or to enjoy the rush.
However, what all leaders really need to do is work with their teams to make the best decisions. This is probably not the easy one. Nor the first one. We need to SEE all there is to see.Then we need to spend some time THINKING about it. And then we ACT.
So this week someone is going to bring you a problem or opportunity. Are you willing to SEE, THINK, and ACT in that order? Or will you get stuck in the information gathering phase? Or perhaps skip all that and dole out yesterdays answer. It is up to every leader to respond uniquely and differently to each days events.