Your success as a leader largely depends on knowing which decisions to delegate and which ones to make yourself. If you devote too much time to scrutinizing nonessential issues, you can overlook what matters most.
There are three types of decisions that only you—as the leader—must make:
1. Organizational goals. Many CEOs pay short shrift to setting goals. Instead of looking ahead and envisioning what types of objectives make the most sense, some executives simply review last year’s goals—and last year’s results—when calibrating new goals.
Another trap is to focus too heavily on competitors’ performance history in setting goals.
2. Resource allocation. If you delegate decisions related to allocating resources, you can wind up with a mishmash of strategic initiatives. The result: Some projects and expenditures get out of sync with what you and yourteam seek to achieve.
Ambitious plans often require significant investments. You want to own those decisions and align your team around your vision.
3. Personnel moves. Assigning people to the right positions is a crucial part of leading. Acknowledging when you make a personnel mistake—and rectifying it quickly—is equally important.
In a study of 82 failed CEOs, the most common cause of their failure was their decision to place the wrong person in a job and then not address the poor fit in a timely manner. It’s easier to do nothing even as the problem festers and the damage spreads.
After you make a faulty hiring decision, your gut may tell you that you’ve blundered. Listen to it—and act.
— Adapted from “The Three Decisions You Need to Own,” Ram Charan.
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