At times, I question myself by asking “Am I making the right business decision? Is there an art to knowing you’re right?”
– Anonymous, MD
Making good decisions in business and personally is to understand and accept it is okay not to always know the answer and not to be afraid to admit it. Some feel they need to “know everything” when asked a question by a colleague or friend however, this is not the case. Admitting you don’t know shows honesty, courage and good leadership. I strongly believe in practicing the results of a research project undertaken by Jim Collins. After 14 years of research, “Good to Great” author Jim Collins says the art of making decisions are:
- Great Decisions Come From Saying “I Don’t Know.” Collins asks: “Which is best? Saying you don’t know when you’ve already made up your mind? Or presuming to know when you don’t and therefore, lying to yourself? Or speaking the truth, which is: I don’t yet know?”
The Higher The Questions/Statements Ratio, The Better. The best leaders Collins studied did the best job at igniting debate using Socratic Questions. As for himself: “I tried to make heroes out of those on my team who identified flaws in my thinking.” Collins says. “At the next meeting, I might say: ‘I really want to give Leigh credit. She really pushed my thinking, and I wasn’t looking at this right.'”
- Deciding Is Not About Consensus. Debate can be “violent,” but in the end, the leader makes the call. “No major decision we’ve studied was ever taken at a point of unanimous agreement.”
- Great Decisions Come From External Awareness. Fabulous organizations are internally driven but externally aware.
- Even Huge Decisions Decide Only A Tiny Fraction Of The Outcome. “The big decisions are not lot 60 to 100 points – they’re more like 6 of 100 points. And there’s a whole bunch of others that are like 0.6 or 0.006.”
- Think Long Term. Real leaders manage for the quarter-century, not the quarter.
- You Can Make Mistakes – Even Big Ones – And Prevail. What a relief.
Adopted from “Jim Collins on Tough Calls” -Jerry Useem, Fortune
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