When It Gets Too Frustrating
Imagine getting a 1,000 piece LEGO set that’s designed to build the Space Shuttle. But, dang it Dawg, the instructions weren’t included in the box! What’s up with that, LEGO?!
There are thousands of ways to put those darn pieces together and, well, you’re just not sure how to get it done. So you dump out all the pieces on a table and bring in three colleagues to help (yup, you’re doing LEGOs at work). The four of you start winging it. You all are hunched over the table snapping this piece into that one all willy-nilly in hopes it will magically work.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t. It’s a tough challenge with lots of different options. All four people have different ideas on how to build the Space Shuttle – and each person is pretty darn confident that their idea is the right way to do it.
After a little bit of time, frustrations build because nobody is making real progress. Things get heated. People are using pieces that others need. Eventually, the team starts butting heads and arguing about which way is the best.
This is a critical pivot point in the decision-making process – when emotions kick in.
The Bad Way To Make Decisions
Emotions happen, that’s normal. But there are three bad decision-making models that result from heightened emotions.
When a group is so emotionally drained that they simply adopt the best-articulated decision in order to stop having to talk about it anymore. This is the “whatever, let’s just do it your way” approach to decision-making.
The option decided on is the one most passionately pushed by the loudest people. It is surprising how often this happens and how many loud people use it to get what they want.
[Editor’s Note: ummmm….no comment.]
The scenario in which the most senior person gets their way. Consider this the “I don’t care what you think, I’m the boss and you’ll do as I say” approach.
Will the team build the Space Shuttle correctly in this instance? Probably not.
The fact is that decision-making processes that are driven by emotions are emotionally draining. Even if it’s the right choice, those types of decisions deflate, disappoint, and alienate people.
How To Make Good Decisions
Here’s a fun fact for you:
Employees are more committed to a company when they believe decisions are made using a logical, informed, and fair process that keeps their best interests in mind.
Let me rephrase the important takeaway:
How you make decisions is more important than what the decision is.
I repeat… HOW you make a decision is more important than the outcome of that decision.
So how do you make a good decision? Well, you first have to start with three important things.
1. A goal
2. An understanding of the key stakeholders
3. A vision
Those three elements are critical in decision-making, regardless of who, what, or where you are. Let me give you an example.
Let’s say I have a company that is trying to revolutionize the Squatty Potty.
- Our GOAL is to create a fun, engaging brand and generate more revenue.
- Our key STAKEHOLDERS are the end users – the people who buy our Squatty Potty
- Our VISION is to create the most unique and effective Squatty Potty in the world.
Ok, we’ve got the three factors outlined. Now, anytime a decision needs to be made, it always has to be assessed through three important questions:
- (Goal) Which decision will generate the most revenue potential while adhering to our brand promise?
- (Stakeholder) Which decision will most satisfy our end users?
- (Vision) Which decision helps us be the most unique and effective product in the market?
You see, it’s not about emotion at all.
The Four Types of Decision-Making Processes
Once your entire company understands the three key factors of decision-making, it makes it a LOT easier for everybody to be more efficient in coming to solutions.
Still, when it comes to actually making the decision, there are four different types of decision-making processes that healthy companies follow. Each one is relevant in different circumstances and everybody needs to understand which process they need to follow in which scenarios. Check it out:
Command Decision Making
One person makes the decisions without consulting others. This is done when decisions don’t directly impact others on the team (or when leadership needs to make decisions in times of crisis).
Example: Customer support personnel should be able to give refunds, exchange product and quickly make other customer-centric decisions without having to consult others.
Collaborative Decision Making
Decisions are based on feedback from the team, outside experts, or trusted advisors who will give honest and direct feedback.
Example: Product development needs to get feedback from not just internal departments (marketing, sales, tech, finance, etc) but also from external sources like customers and distributors.
Consensus Decision Making
This is a democracy in action. Everybody votes and the highest vote wins.
Example: Which of three logo designs is the best?
Delegation Decision Making
You choose somebody else to be responsible for making decisions. In most cases, this is done when a group has a specific task to solve.
Example: Your company’s Culture Committee. The lead of the committee is responsible for creating and implementing fun, culture-building concepts.
Though I can probably come up with some witty and insightful way to end this, let me instead just repeat the words of Theodore Roosevelt, who said:
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”
It’s time to decide to make better decisions.