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Remarkable Leadership with Kevin Eikenberry

The Decisions to Start With

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As leaders, we all have lots of decisions to make, and since there are many, it can sometimes be difficult to stay on top of and feel confident about all of them. Would you like a framework, a process, a way to improve your decision-making effectiveness and your confidence in those decisions long after they are made?

Og Mandino, one of my favorite authors, penned the following line. It is one of my favorites, and the underlying idea for this article: “Use wisely your power of choice.”

Here is the concept behind the framework I am promising: If we are going to make better decisions, it is important to make some basic decisions first, as those become the foundation and guidance for all of the other decisions that follow. Using this framework will make all of those future decisions come easier and with more confidence. 

This framework does something else too — something perhaps even more important. Your answers to these foundational questions (and your resulting actions) also determine what kind of leader you will become.

Once you see what I am doing, you might add other questions to this foundation, and I would encourage you to do that. Here are three with a brief description, and a couple more for you to ponder as well.

What is most important? This is a dual-use question. First of all you, need to know what the most important things are in the bigger picture. Beyond that though, asking this question in the midst of any decision or problem-solving exercise will give you immediate perspective and will improve your choices.

What do you believe in? This is the values question. When you understand your most deeply held values, and the values of your organization, it will make many decisions easier and will make some superfluous. Consider this question like a deep breath before deciding. Does the decision you are making align with your values?

What kind of leader do you want to be? This question gets more to your intentions for individual decisions and your legacy. Do you want to grow your people? Do you want decisions that lead to highly levels of team commitment? If so, then you will engage more people in decisions more often. Do you want to be seen as a strong and decisive leader? Those choices might lead you to make more independent or unilateral decisions. While your answer to this question may not change the decisions you make, it can definitely impact the way you approach and make them.

And three more — equally important, but I only have so much space here …

What is your purpose?

What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

What are your basic beliefs about people?

Your answers to these questions become your decision-making guidance system. They will not only give you greater efficiency (short term time use), but will also give you greater effectiveness (better decisions). Time invested in thinking about these questions — and helping your team think about and know the answers to them — will aid all of you in your quest for greater results.

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