Chapter 5How to Decide

DID YOU EVER HAVE TO MAKE UP YOUR MIND? Pick up on one and leave the other behind? Making decisions is an inalienable part of everyone's existence. From what we'll put on our backs in the morning to what we'll put on our TV screens at night, daily life is fraught with the imperative to negotiate choice. And if you're heading up a professional organization upon whose continued existence other people's livelihoods rest (to say nothing of your own), then you're more fraught with the stuff than most.

Every decision involves picking between maintaining the status quo and inviting change. Those can be hefty and wildly disparate options. Landing on the best decision is a significant achievement deserving of considerable celebration. Of course, these celebrations can be precarious things, dependent as they are on an obvious and irrefutable victor—a rare concept in this game, particularly when the stakes are high. No wonder decision-making is considered such a critical leadership skill.

And one worth mastering. If you can learn how to make timely, thoughtful, clever decisions, then you can lead your people to a successful place. But if you can't nail the trick, you risk sinking like a stone and taking your entire team down with you.

Timing Is Everything

Every decision has a deadline tied into it. It might be some distance in the future—but it probably isn't. Indeed, one of the most challenging aspects of decision-making is the hovering time frame dictating its ...

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