Business Being a new CEO November 6, 2014

7 Smart Ways to Encourage Better Decision Making in Your Business


Making better decisions is not just the responsibility of the CEO it’s also a necessity for every member of your team. High performing teams work because they have enabled high levels of trust and driven the independence and decision making capabilities of your people. As a business leader you must help your teams have the correct skills and resources to make the right decisions, decisions that support your goals and align in a powerful fashion with your corporate strategy and vision.

Here are 8 tips for MDs to encourage better decision making across their organisations:

  1. Encourage the Levels of Trust.

    If you’re a business leader you can’t be expected to oversee every minute detail of your organisation and that includes making smaller decisions.

    The most efficient teams have high levels of accountability and have been empowered by their leaders to make their own decisions.

    This means that you are free to focus on the larger and more important things such as strategy, resource allocation, hiring and firing.

    Don’t allow your team to run to you for your sign off, if you trust that they have the expertise and authority to handle it, let them make the decision for themselves. You will find that they are more aware when they are being held accountable.
  1. Make Sure Your Team Aren’t Aafraid to Disagree.

    If your people want to come to you to discuss a potential important decision you must ensure that they feel that they can come and talk to you. If you have hired well, the people underneath you will have more knowledge in their area of expertise.

    If you can work together and guide them to consider all the options, you will make the best decision possible as you combine your knowledge and strategic vision with their specific knowledge and expertise.

  2. Be Open to Mistakes.

    Incorporating the ‘Church of Fail’ as John Cremer puts it, is an effective way of encouraging your team to speak openly about any bad decisions that have been made. This means that as soon as a mistake is noted they can make an appropriate response in a timely manner. Otherwise there is a tendency to hide from responsibility as things magnify out of control.

  3. Encourage a Devil’s Advocate.

    Some larger decisions carry high levels of risk and are almost impossible to reverse. Therefore, careful analysis and thorough discussion are integral to the decision making process. It’s a good idea to assign a senior staff member or colleague to play devil’s advocate in this situation. That way you can interrogate your decision making progress for any weaknesses.

  4. Communicate the What and Why of Significant Decisions.

    Open channels of communication will encourage respect within your organisation. Smart talented people are often interested in the why and what in order to help process change and shift their opinions.

    Always communicate the basic reasoning behind each decision to facilitate comprehension, support and buy-in. This will also help your team make better future decisions.

  5. Have Your Team’s Back, but Feel Free to Disagree.

    If your team has proposed a solution, don’t simply submit or dismiss an idea that you don’t agree with. Ensure that the decision is made clearly and with consideration, and always give recognition and credit where it is due.

    Recognising and interrogating success has two very distinct advantages:

    - peer recognition and self worth
    Your team will feel engaged and recognised amongst their peers for doing a good job.

    “A boss wants to pay for results, an employee wants recognition for effort. If a boss recognizes effort, they will get even better results.” - 
    Simon Sinek (access video here)

    - interrogate your success

    If you practice the process of uncovering the key factors that contribute to the success of a project you should be able to replicate this for future opportunities.

    Leaders should use 'Glimpses of Brilliance' “Don't ignore the bad but instead focus on the good” - Steve Head (access video here)

    7. Use a Process of Decision Analysis.

    The best way to understand if the right decision was made is to conduct an examination of the process and outcomes that were generated. Strategic decisions should be reviewed against key metrics and overall performance.

    Without a review, it is easy to avoid looking at the issues, or learning anything from the decision making process and your organisation will not grow its ability to make better decisions. By encouraging this across all levels of your organisation you will encourage your team to make better decisions that are in line with the company’s goals and will help to improve their decision making capabilities as a result.

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