5 Ways to Make Tough Decisions Easier

5 Ways to Make Tough Decisions Easier

When the going gets tough, the tough get going.

Who are you when times are difficult or when you need to make difficult decisions? This is what really matters when it comes to defining what kind of leader you are. Can you cope with highly demanding and mentally challenging work?  Can you deal with uncertain outcomes?

Here’s how you can make decisions with courage and conviction.

Make Comparisons and Duplicate

Most organizations function the same, whether it’s a school or and airline company. I read tons of books about change, success and leadership and the examples are often about Fortune 500 companies or military legends. However, I find the information very applicable to the work I do as a school leader. If you are looking to increase your customer base, maybe look at how Southwest Airlines transformed their business. If you want to help your team influence customer choice, take a look at the infomercial strategies. There are countless examples of business success stories that can help you through your decision making process. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.

Have a go to rule

Seems to simplify a complex decision, but if you have a core program or strategy, make that your default when you don’t know what else to do. It can help you stall to think of a more effective strategy.

What, So What, Now What

This is a protocol that I use with my staff to solve problems. We present the problem as the "What"… then have a brain dump on what happens as a result of that “what” or what are the implications of that "what"… which then becomes the “So What”… Then we continue this until we have potential “Now What’s” or solutions that are favorable. This gets your team involved as well as gets you to see multiple perspectives to your issue.

Consult with some experts

Present your issue to your team of experts (or trusted friends). Allow the experts to ask you clarifying questions that are factually based.  The group then talks to each other (without you speaking) about your issue. They may restate your issue in different ways, they may talk about their own biases and assumptions, they make offer suggestions, and they may even have more questions. You walk away with more info than you had before and you have more to reflect on before making a decision.

Go back to your WHY

Send the potential decision through a battery of tests or a series of questions. Is this in alignment with my core value system? Will this action impact any of my stakeholders negatively? Will this decision imply a change in your  identity?

Who you are as a leader is not only based on what you do, but how you do it. Develop a precise decision making style and this will surely save you in tough times.


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