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Making Decisions on an Executive Level

Executives have a responsibility and are paid to make quality decisions for the business in their leadership role. This post identifies certain practices for quality decision making in an executive role over and above following the formal process of decision making.

The formal decision making steps or process is as follows:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Develop alternatives
  3. Evaluate the alternatives
  4. Make a decision
  5. Implement the decision
  6. Monitor the results of the decision

This is the starting point for making quality decisions however executives need to also practice the following:

Be strategic

Executives are responsible for many impactful decisions and the consequences of their decisions affect many lives.  Decisions such as hiring, strategy and resources all impact the business and focus on these needs to have a higher importance. The team that the executive hires can add much value to the business and hiring talented people can ‘lighten the load’ on the executive, who will be in a better position to delegate non-strategic decisions and have more focus.

Listening to the Experts

Executives should consider the subject matter experts opinion in the business and gather as much accurate and quality information to make the best decision for the business.

Powerful questions drive conversations

The Harvard Business Review online post explains that asking quality questions is a skill that can be taught and the value of asking powerful questions can drive conversations for productivity and performance.  Executives who are skilled in asking the right open ended questions and using a high level of emotional intelligence will promote innovation in the company. Ask the question “What is the best case scenario and what is the worst case scenario?”

Speed of decision making

Executives need to avoid procrastination when making decisions and gain momentum to make a better decision faster, because time is critical when it comes to market opportunities. Data, experience and ‘that gut feeling’ can also speed up the process of decision making.

Purpose over Profit

Most importantly, executives have a responsibility in the world to lead with integrity and decisions should be made purposefully. It is the responsibility of executives to be guided by values and base their decisions on values rather than seek out profit.

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Written by: Carla Wasserfall

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