Eric Jacobson

Posts Tagged ‘Decision Making’

Make Decisions

In Eric Jacobson On Leadership, Making Decisions on July 13, 2017 at 8:46 am

A manager who can’t make a decision or who can’t make a timely decision will frustrate his/her employees. Equally bad, a lack of decision will impede the progress of the manager’s team.

Some managers make endless requests for data as a way to postpone their having to make a decision. Employees end up spinning in circles, slicing and dicing the information far beyond what is truly needed for the manager to make a decision.

Some managers are simply afraid to make a decision in fear of making a “wrong” decision. These managers don’t necessarily request needless data, but simply just never decide.

Successful managers gather the data from their employees, make any truly necessary follow-up requests (probing beyond what their employee may have researched/gathered on their own), and then make their decision…knowing that in virtually all cases most decisions are not black and white “right or “wrong,” but are the best decisions made at that time for the current circumstances.

Good managers know that most decisions can be tweaked along the way as their teams carry out their tasks impacted by the decision.

What To Ask Your Team Before Acting On Their Recommendation

In General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Making Decisions, Management on June 29, 2011 at 7:53 pm

There’s a great article in the June issue of the Harvard Business Review by Daniel Kahneman that includes a 12-question checklist that is designed to unearth cognitive biases of teams making recommendations that leaders take into consideration before they make their decisions.

The questions include those the leaders should ask themselves and questions they should use to challenge the people proposing a course of action.

Here are some of the recommended questions:

  • Is there any reason to suspect the team making the recommendation is motivated by self-interest?
  • Has the team fallen in love with its proposal?
  • Were the dissenting options within the team explored adequately?
  • Are credible alternatives included along with the recommendation?
  • Are the recommenders overly attached to a history of past decisions?
  • Is the recommending team overly cautious?
  • Where did the worst case scenario come from?
  • How sensitive is the recommendation to our competitors’ responses?
  • What could happen that we have not thought of?

And, here are some of the author’s other recommendations for vetting the quality of decisions and uncovering biases that may have distorted the reasoning of people who created the recommendations:

  • Review proposals to spot overoptimism.
  • Be cautious of an absence of dissent in a team addressing a complex problem.
  • As a good practice, insist that the team submit at least one or two alternatives to the main recommendation and explain their pros and cons.
  • Consider all recommendations as if you were a new CEO at your company.
  • When considering new investments, disregard past expenditures that don’t affect future costs or revenues.
  • Don’t influence a team’s proposals by choosing team members whose opinions are already known.

Kahneman is a senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and a partner at The Greatest Good.

Be Willing To Change Your Decision

In General Leadership Skills, Leadership, Leadership Skills, Making Decisions on August 17, 2010 at 6:00 am

Leaders make decisions.

Good leaders are willing to modify their decisions as changing circumstances and data dictate.

If you are stubborn about a decision and think that tweaking your decision will be a sign of weakness, think again. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Often, circumstances change and new information becomes available after a decision has been made. If that takes place it is a sign of strength to modify your decision to fit the new situation.

Be Willing To Change Your Decisions

In General Leadership Skills, Making Decisions on November 8, 2009 at 9:07 am

Leaders make decisions.

Good leaders are willing to modify their decisions as changing circumstances and data dictate.

If you are stubborn about a decision and think that tweaking your decision will be a sign of weakness, think again. In fact, just the opposite is true.

Often, circumstances change and new information becomes available after a decision has been made. If that takes place it is a sign of strength to modify your decision to fit the new situation.

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