February 2020

Decisions, Decisions

Good and bad choices are inevitable in leadership; own both and forge forward.




Decisions are invaluable—good and bad. As a leader, you can strive to win with some, and learn from the others. The fantasy is that we make all good decisions; the reality is that bad decisions can lead to the best decisions—the next time around.

Here is some expert insight into not only increasing your likelihood of making good decisions, but also how do deal with the not-so-good ones.

  1. Write down the top organization priorities that will be impacted by the decision; but then also, write down three or more realistic alternatives to the decision. Don’t skimp on time or creativity. Expanding your choices expands your likelihood of success. Written preparation increases commitment and establishes a basis to measure results.
  2. Relay a brief story of the expected decision outcome as a best practice. Include 2-6 team members who will weigh in on perspective.
  3. Schedule and follow up on the decision a month or so into the future. This is often still early enough to tweak and make corrections, if necessary.
  4. Be prepared to devote time to analyzing a decision that failed, rather than glossing over it and moving on.
  5. Don’t put the blame on people or find a scapegoat for a bad decision; instead, analyze the process and draw conclusions.
  6. Meet with the same team and evaluate the decision that didn’t deliver; write down where it went wrong. Tell them what you learned; ask individuals what they took away from the experience.
  7. Show your team that you are not afraid of bad decisions; speak positively about making subsequent decisions and how they might play out more effectively moving forward. Take a pause, breathe, but don’t wait too long to plan your next move and decide again.

Further reading