Our leadership and our lives are a roadmap of decision points! Our lives evolve as we grow and learn, and our decisions drive the results of who we become and how we get to where we are, and where we are headed. Our decision-making process is cemented into our brains and day-to-day lives.
In this post in the “Matters Series,” we will focus on the CEO Decision Process and unpack the different ways that we all make decisions. There are simple decisions and major but more difficult decisions. We will dive a bit deeper into each, using a different process for each.
Most of us will not argue that the decisions we have made both in our personal lives and in our leadership roles have had a huge impact on us. Our largest decisions typically involve a major life event, such as getting married, having children, buying and selling a home, moving, accepting a new job offer, and divorce. Our process to make these major decisions are typically long, drawn out with pro-con analysis, maybe even using a spreadsheet. But our day-to-day simple decisions typically occur in a different manner. Let’s take a deeper look at this concept.
Think about the forks in your road, your decisions on your path to today, and how you have been affected:
If you chose different classes at 16 or 18 years old, would you be a CEO today? If you chose never to start your own company, would you be a CEO today? If you interviewed and received an offer to become a CEO and declined the offer, would you ever become a CEO? If you never dated your current spouse, would you be married, how might it be different, and how would your life change? If you overspent your budget and cash in your business unit or startup and fell 50% short of revenue or profitability targets, would you remain CEO or be terminated by the Board of Directors? You get the picture.
The Simple Process
I contend that we all have an “auto-process” in our minds to make a decision as quickly and painlessly as possible. Take a look at your auto-process which means the key factors that you look at and evaluate to make a rapid decision. Let’s look at the auto-decision process:
Virtually no one diagrams this process, and your personal process may be different, but go ahead and diagram it to help you understand exactly how you make rapid decisions from the gut “yes,” from the gut, “no,” and with some rapid analysis. My decision-making business model looks at speed – a critical success factor, gathering as quickly as possible as many facts as possible, asking a few questions about the issue in question – how it affects me, the budget, people around me, downstream effects, etc. – and doing a speedy analysis. Decision done. Could take a minute, ten minutes, or maybe even a day or longer, but it’s as soon as possible not to lose valuable time. anything that has zero to minimal impact based on the questions and answers in your analysis supports the auto-process decision!
The BIG However – the Major Difficult Decision!
Our major life and company decisions are not auto-processed decisions. They are made after oftentimes long periods of stressful analysis, “thinking about it,” processing and re-processing, and testing the decision, but they are not easy, and many facts take a long time to gather, analyze, and verify. In business, time may affect the company’s success. In personal lives, the job offer may not materialize, you may decide not to move, or you may or may not decide to file for divorce or have children. For CEOs and leaders, these business decisions may be time-bound due to run rates, investors, customer deadlines, or any other business-related reasons.
Here is a perspective of the difficult decision process:
This is the framework of my decision process; yours may be different, but if you diagram or model your difficult decision process, you will potentially better understand how you determine your decision and if you need to evolve your process. Since CEO and Leader decision process is a critical success factor, and all decisions matter, I recommend you create a business model for your personal process and improve your skills.
Each and every one of us, regardless if a CEO, a leader, or an individual contributor with aspirations, have our own decision-making process, and we use it every day! take an in-depth look at yours for both simple and major decisions and create your own business model and process. You can use the resulting process when assigning projects to your team, so you gather the appropriate required data as needed. You can also apply it to your personal decisions.
Readers of my 2-time award-winning book, “The Rookie CEO, You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!” learn about the PPLC Framework, which is the Path to CEO, and how their Philosophies and their Leadership Styles drive the Company Culture. Readers learn how CEOs make decisions along the way and how the “Matters Series” of posts here in CEO Insights align with the framework. You can get the book in all formats here on Amazon or the hardback and audiobook at any retailer selling books.
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