THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

FORBES: 12 Ways Leaders Can Make Timely Calls On Complicated Decisions

As quoted on Forbes.

Having a lot of big decisions to make all of the time is part of being a business leader. While some choices are simple and straightforward, others are more complex. When a complicated issue arises that will impact your company and its stakeholders, as a leader, you need to find effective ways of confirming that your ideas are on the right track so that you can make the optimal decision.

Ideally, critical business decisions are considered from every angle. But the truth is, you may not always have the luxury of thoroughly exploring each option due to time constraints. If you don’t feel confident about a decision you’ve made, unfortunately, it won’t be easy to convince others that it was the right call. Even worse, your choice could result in a negative outcome.

To help ensure you are able to make the best decision in a timely fashion when there are numerous extenuating factors to consider, 13 members of Forbes Coaches Council share their best advice below.

1. Consult With Mentors And Experts

Consult with mentors and others with expertise in the area—individuals whose judgment and character you trust. Listen to your own instinct, informed by years of experience. Weigh and plan for downsides and risks. Act, and then trust that you can and will handle any outcome. –,

2. Invite A Wide Array Of Perspectives

Only hindsight will provide the perspective of whether the right call was made or not. The leader can make sure to invite a wide array of perspectives and include others in the decision-making process. This way, regardless of the results, everyone would know the process behind the decision and that other people’s input was sought and valued. – Faisal Khan, 1ExtraordinaryLife, LLC

3. Ask Yourself Key Questions

Why this decision? Why now? What’s the benefit? What’s the downside? What’s the goal? Once your reasoning is clear, gather together what I like to call your “kitchen cabinet” (the people you trust) and listen to their input, then decide. No matter what, as soon as the decision is made, you had better be ready to move quickly if it’s wrong. – Maureen Taylor, SNP Communications

4. Declare Your Direction And Move Forward

Don’t stay stuck! Decisive action creates powerful positive momentum. Great leaders have the ability to make a difficult decision in the moment when they have about 80% of the information, time or resources needed. That means there should be a twist in your gut when you decide which way to go. Declare your direction and make forward progress. You can adjust later if new information becomes available. – Bill Koch, Bill Koch Leadership Coaching

5. Construct A Problem Statement And Set Clear Deadlines

First, construct a very clear problem statement. A problem that is very well-described is half-solved. Explore all of the options. Use business models to decide on the top solutions. Then, set clear deadlines for all of the gate stages, as well as appropriate measurement criteria, reporting structures and course-correction milestones. – Antonio Garrido, Absolute Sales Development

6. Know That You Won’t Get It Right All The Time

It’s impossible to make the right call 100% of the time, so the first step in making timely decisions is to know that you’re not going to get it right all of the time. The next step is to make sure you gather your information quickly. Do you have everything you need to make the larger decision? If not, find two people to help you. Beyond that, consult with those who will be most affected by the decision and sleep on it. – Kate Peters, Bright Voyage Leadership

7. Clearly Frame The Decision To Be Made At The Start

After you identify the main issue, ask for confirmation from trusted team members. They may help to confirm or clarify it. Once you have confirmation of the decision to be made, engage your team to collaboratively discuss and approach it from different angles. Engaging all of the perspectives on your team will lead to a better decision. – Kirsten Meneghello, Illumination Coaching LLC

8. Start From The End And Work Backward

What final decision is needed by when? What decisions need to be made before the final one? Breaking down a big decision into smaller components and working backward provides a roadmap forward for data analysis and sequential decision making. Starting from the end and working backward often also highlights items that would be missed when we only look forward. – Faith Fuqua-Purvis, Synergetic Solutions Consulting LLC

9. Inform Your Instincts With Data

Trust your instincts, but inform them with data. There is so much data available to inform decisions, and I’ve often been surprised to discover that the data and results are different from what I would have expected. Seek out data to inform your decisions and make a point of analyzing it with an open mind. – Krista Neher, Boot Camp Digital

10. Take Your Time

Ironically, in order to make a timely decision, you need to take time. Take time where and how it counts: in the deep consideration phase. Disengage from busyness, reactivity and high-pressure feelings. From this neutral perspective, all of the issues at play and how to address them will become clearer. – Lisa Marie Platske, Upside Thinking, Inc.

11. Seek Out Trusted Advisors Who May Not Agree With You

Having one or two readily available, trusted advisors who do not necessarily always agree with you or who possess specific expertise is imperative for a decision maker. Listening to opposing points of view provides insight into personal blind spots and enables leaders to see the issue through alternative lenses and obtain a 360-degree perspective. Effective leaders know who to call when they hit a wall. – Elaine Rosenblum, ProForm U®

12. Trust Your Gut

Leadership is all about leaning into your intuition, using your past experiences and the knowledge you have at hand. What is right today may not be right tomorrow. Learning from decisions is part of the process and is what propels great leaders into growth. – Melanie Towey, Melanie Anne, LLC

About the Author

Susanne Biro is a coach to C-suite and executive level leaders. She is the founder of The Inner Life Leadership Academy, a year-long program for executive level business leaders who want to reach an unprecedented level of personal understanding and corresponding leadership mastery. Susanne is an author, program designer, facilitator, Forbes & CEO Magazine contributing writer, TEDx and keynote speaker.

For two decades, Susanne has worked internationally with senior-level leaders in some of the world’s best companies. Whether coaching one-on-one or authoring, designing, and delivering leadership programs, her passion is the same: to help leaders reach their next level of personal, professional, and leadership mastery.

Susanne can be reached at 604.864.5408 or via email at info@susannebiro.com

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Our world has changed, rapidly and in unexpected ways. As the crisis hit, I offered and held pro bono sessions with leaders from around the world. And I want to continue to do what I can to help. As a result, I now offer hourly sessions to ensure leaders everywhere can quickly get the perspective, clarity and focus they need to lead themselves, and therefore others, well during these challenging and uncertain times.

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