Archives for posts with tag: decison making

While working with my business clients, it has become evident that there is pain and frustration resulting from apparently not having enough time for getting the most important business-related activities completed.

Certainly, daily operational requirements coupled with the speed of technology can create an environment wherein we may fall into the “reactive” versus “proactive” mode.  Thus, we tend to allow that proverbial “whirlwind” of activity to take control of our how our time gets spent..

Consequently, excuses begin to enter into the picture, as we justify our lack of execution as being the bi-product of too many tasks to be completed coupled with too many interruptions.

As emphasized in my blog on the 6 P’s  (Proper Prior Planning Produces Professional Performance), it is imperative that YOU CHOOSE to control the what, when, where, and why of how you spend YOUR valuable time & energy.

Do what matters!  Resolve to perform the most important high-leverage activities that will deliver the maximum return on your effort.

Take Action



Throughout my career, I’ve observed various strategies for “dealing” with problems, an essential function of leadership:

  1. avoid confronting it and hope the issue somehow goes away
  2. delegate to subordinates and assume they can fix the issue
  3. add the issue to an ominous to-do list and get to it based on priorities
  4. face the issue head-on, and promptly resolve it with appropriate intensity

Obviously, certain situations require greater responsiveness and urgency than others.  Regardless, if a situation falls into what you define as a “problem”, your role as a leader is to resolve it as quickly as possible.

Following the protocol outlined below will enable you to consistently address and resolve those “problems.”

  • Identify exactly where the core issue lies (people, process, etc.)
  • Quickly gather all pertinent facts
  • Determine possible solutions, using all available human resources
  • Select the optimal resolution, including who is best capable of handling it
  • Take immediate action
  • Evaluate and monitor to ensure proper resolution

Applying this formula to eliminate challenges will allow you to spend your energy proactively focused on the activties that can drive your business forward.

When facing challenges and adversity, my experience shows three common leadership responses:

  1. Face and accept the situation head on and proactively figure out how to correct or improve it.
  2. Accept it as fate and hope that it will somehow get better or resolve itself.
  3. Find fault with other people or circumstances and enter into the “blame game.”

I suppose you could classify these three reactions as aggressive, passive or victim!

Genuine Leadership includes the qualities of honesty, candor and accountability.  To act any other way beyond #1 above is NOT Leadership!

As the old saying goes, you can be part of the problem or part of the solution.

Facing situations for what they are, diligently thinking and managing through the crisis, while making unemotional fact-based decisions is the most constructive strategy for moving forward.

Carnegie fools

The band Astral Projection released their song “Searching for the UFOs” in 1999.

In the business world, especially during any rapid growth periods, my recommendation is for leadership to be searching for the BFOs, aka the Blinding Flash of the Obvious!

Let’s start with the big assumption that an organization has a clearly defined mission, vision, goals and consequently a strategic plan in place to accomplish all of the aforementioned.

It’s amazing to me how often leadership continues to go in search of new and better ways of operating, well before ever giving their original strategy and tactics a chance to work.

The BFOs represent something that should have been very evident all along yet the team was moving so fast, and without recalibration, that solutions to issues and/or opportunities, that were staring them right in the face, were not realized.

Reflection and paying attention can convert what was a confusing challenge into a remedy that has now become terribly obvious!

And by the way, an obvious place to seek guidance in this area is through solicitation of both employees and customers alike.

Capt Obvious



Early on in my retail career, managing a “big box” home improvement center with over 100 employees, I quickly learned the importance of empowering your people to make decisions.

In retail or any other fast paced environment, we are faced with seemingly endless rapid fire decisions that need to be made, many resulting from an unplanned or reactionary scenario.

As my team, one after another would come to me with an issue, I had two options…give them the answer I felt was most appropriate or make them think for themselves.

In order for me to focus on what was most important in my role as General Manager, I would have to surround myself with troops who could think, had good common sense, and were not afraid to make a decision.

When approached for help, I would ask the employee “what do you think we should do?”

If they didn’t have an immediate solution in mind, I would have them come back to me when they did.  Once they returned, unless their idea was illegal, unethical or completely off-base, I would suggest they go ahead and do it.  I frequently closed our discussion with this statement:

“95 % of the time, we’ll make the right decision;  the other 5 % we’ll learn from it!”

In short order, I found myself with an empowered team who could make things happen and did not require non-stop direction from their leader.

Patton Empowerment

One of my favorite leadership reads is “Winning” by the legendary Jack Welch, former CEO of G.E.

Mr. Welch had a philosophy that included getting “every brain into the game”, i.e. take advantage of the experience and mind power of your entire team and you may be surprised about what you collectively come up with!

In the press of business urgency, I’ve noticed that leaders tend to make “rapid-fire” decisions, often without utilizing all of the information available to achieve the optimal “fact-based” conclusion.

Additionally, without promoting and fostering a participative atmosphere to begin with, many employees become reluctant, or even afraid, to “speak-up” or share their insights.

By setting an expectation that the thoughts and wisdom of others is cherished and appreciated, notice how this facilitates better decision-making, as well as the evolution of a healthier culture.