Good Decisions As Easy as 1-2-3

This blog post was inspired by a leadership blogger I enjoy reading.

I believe good leadership is founded on trust and need: do I trust you enough to follow you; and, do I need what your leadership will give me? People determine trust by looking at your decisions, and they demonstrate that they need your leadership by choosing to follow you and work with you.

Analyze your own decisions and the process you use to make decisions to improve your personal leadership.  Inspired by the blog post above, I did just that.

I try to do three things when I make decisions:

  1. I tell a story about a problem or a solution. In other words, I try to put the problem or solution in context – what brought me to the point of needing a decision?
  2. As much as possible, I include the people who are affected – either the people who caused the problem or who could be part of the solution – in the decision-making process.
  3. I try to give the glory to the solution-finders, and celebrate how life is so much better as a result of their work.

I believe this does several things that help decisions to be good ones and “stick”. Stories go after people’s hearts and emotions. I used to think decisions were made in people’s heads but the older I get, the more I know decisions are made in people’s hearts. Stories put people into situations that they can relate to, so they can feel the weight of the problem or the hope of a better future. Including the people affected in the process makes it better, and helps them own it too. Lastly, sharing the glory builds trust, and celebrating the fruit of the decision helps cement it. Telling stories as part of the celebration is like a history lesson – those who forget history are destined to repeat it.

Occasionally, I will test the sticking power of a decision that I (or, if you’ve followed me this long: “we”) have made by challenging it. If I’ve done a good job of the above process, people should push back. In other words, when I question the wisdom or value of a decision, the people involved should say, “No, don’t back down from it – we like it!” Interestingly, this also helps cement the decision too. Untested decisions are always susceptible to failure. Tested decisions stand strong.

What’s your process of decision making? Do people trust your decisions? Are they really following you? If so, share with me your “easy as 1-2-3” ideas! Post a comment!


2 thoughts on “Good Decisions As Easy as 1-2-3

  1. Grant, simple but excellent decision-making “recipe”! I find Step 2 is especially significant when it comes to a new team hire. Shall the hiring manager consult other team members’ opinion when he/she is to make a decision on the final candidate? What if an existing team member does not see eye to eye with the prospective new hire?

    I like reading your posts because they are so applicable to our working place.


    1. Hellow Jane,

      Good question! I always consult other team members’ opinions when I make a decision on the final candidate for a job; however, I don’t always consult every team member for every position. If the team members will be supervised by this person, I always check. If not, I may not.

      If a manager has reservations about working with the final candidate, I would likely call for another interview, and meet with the manager personally to find out what the reservations are prior to the follow-up interview. If the manager really didn’t think it would work after the follow-up interview, I probably wouldn’t go ahead with that person, and would re-post the position. That should tell you that I really, really trust my managers.

      For employees who will be supervised by the candidate, I have a meet & greet with a chance to ask questions. If employees have strong reservations and can articulate their reasons, I would hesitate to hire, and likely wouldn’t hire that person. Again, I trust my employees!

      For employees who will work with the candidate, I usually just have an interview with a few managers and perhaps another employee. Reservations are just as important in this situation and I would treat them much the same.

      Now, if I didn’t trust people’s opinions so much, that would throw a big monkey wrench into the works and I would have to hire to get by, while dealing with that trust issue head-on. Trust is the foundation for being able to be a good leader!


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