Thoroughness is a virtue that eventually turns into a vice. Too many managers, when faced with tough decisions, will endlessly search for additional facts or points of view. Meanwhile, the troops are waiting for direction!
The reality is that not everything can be measured. Sometimes you have to trust your instincts and sleep well knowing you did your best with the information you had at hand.
But this requires courage! Well…that is what differentiates the strong leaders from the plodding managers.
Consider Stephen Elop, the new CEO of Nokia. After six months on the job, he announced that Nokia would scrap it’s internally developed operating system (OS) and go with Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS. While there were some facts and lots of opinions, after a careful review what needed to be done was to decide and get on with things. That is what Elop did. His predecessor had avoided this core issue for years. Whether Elop did a smart thing will be revealed in 2 or 3 years.
So…when faced with key decisions, here is what to do:
-Set a personal deadline for making the decision;
-Assemble the available facts and opinions, develop a point of view and test it with key people;
-Modify your point of view accordingly and announce the decision.
Here is what not to do:
-Assign the whole thing to a committee, which guarantees delay and an eventual consensus-generated weak attempt to minimize organizational pain with little regard for impact;
-Ignore the whole issue and hope it goes away, thus missing a big opportunity;
-Endlessly analyze, hoping that someday the proper path will become certain.