The saddest of decision failures is ineptitude. It is rarely unique to the rank and file and, since ignorance rarely needs companions, has well-paid company throughout the hierarchy. In this model, indecision is rooted in the inability to comprehend complexity and decisions are made with forethought, sincerity, and blissful ignorance. To the amazement of the bewildered maker, the results are disastrous.
The heart of the decision style is an entertaining reflection of the decision-maker's personality. An acquaintance, with a name something like Tony Giovanni (not his real name, but with enough similarity for you to get the point), once boisterously announced, "I use the Sicilian style of decision making." A few people chuckled and no one questioned the meaning of the statement or any of his decisions.
The autocratic style ranges from the benevolent to oppressive dictator. Your alignment with his or her declaration shapes your view of which end the scale the leader lies.
Consultative managers treating teams as egalitarian societies are slow to the conclusion, but infrequently encounter difficulties rallying the team to support the direction.
Flip-flop, waffle, or waiver, whatever you call it, it is a decision's death. Even the best decision needs a manager with the gumption to stay the course and inspire the team to continue. Few decisions are easy and most are missing the band of pompom laden cheerleaders supporting the direction. The decision maker must have fortitude and tirelessly rally the troops and maintain direction.
The common belief is that the further up the hierarchy the easier it is set direction and make a decision. Newly promoted managers are often paralyzed by their distance from the details, relying on data developed and understood by others. Title does not preclude ignorance, ineptitude, or indecision.
Experiential knowledge is superior, but we cannot be experts in everything, especially in fast-paced business environments that change on a moment's notice. Leaders must delegate and divorce themselves from the details and glean the minimal morsels of knowledge to make the right decision. The ability to learn, to adapt, have vicissitude, is crucial in coming to quick and accurate conclusions.
Lack of certainty or weak executive direction lead to inaction—the decision to do nothing results in floating rudderless in the sea of societal whim. The business is left bouncing and bobbing until the nausea drives everyone retching toward the rails looking for the first opportunity terra firma.
Morphic, malleable, and mutable are key traits of remarkable teams, leaders, and companies. Adaptive decisions, agile management, nimble teams, and superlative communications are the ingredients that allow companies to adjust rapidly to the future's needs.
What is your trait?
Ideally, living in the range between vicissitude and certitude, open and agreeable to change, yet knowing when to set direction is the answer. People do not need to agree with the decision; they need to agree to follow it. Shortly after joining any project, I tell a little story. "There are only two types of people on this project—those of that will love me and those of you that won't. No one will be in the middle ground; although, some of you will, on occasion, transverse that chasm... sometimes multiple times in a single day."
Now it is your turn, tell us your decision-making style, how it serves you, and the ways it inspires the ones around you.