Decision making is an involved exercise. The more responsible position you have, the tougher it is. We all make decisions routinely. But when you are required to decide for others, and maybe for your entire team, business and include all stakeholders, it becomes harder. Fiduciary responsibility makes it much harder. Weak-hearted practitioners adopt dodging, delegating and allowing time to take its course. But a leader is required to stand-in for the purpose and take timely, right decisions.
Decision making is a process. A series of data gathering, analysis, interpretation, simulation, and validation before a decision is made. Raw materials for this process is relevant data, experience, ideas, and scenarios. Great decision makers carefully collect, validate and use these raw materials diligently. One of the most powerful tools they use is practicing asking and listening. They master listening.
Larger the span of the impact of the decision, you have to collect raw materials from all corners and those who might be impacted. Since you may not have the luxury of time, you have to do it quickly and subtly. The best practice is to tap into intelligence, experience, and imagination of as many relevant people as possible. Encourage them to talk – in personal conversation or in a focused group, ask questions like – what do you think should be done about this…? or What do you think we are missing in this…? What we should avoid while doing this…? Let them speak well. Collect all raw-materials that you can use to produce a remarkable decision. When you encourage them to talk and you listen, You win people and get raw materials for your craft.
Instead of engaging with people in the ask and listen to act when you are in the process of decision making, make it a routine practice. Respect and engage with people you work with, work for or building the craft for. They feed quality raw-materials required for decision making all the time. The time you take for a sound decision making and the effectiveness of the decision improve remarkably.