5 Steps to Better Decisions

A leader's primary way to add value to an organization is in the quality of the decision she makes. Here's 5 steps towards improving this key skill.

1) Define the problem - this is the most important step. Use a "5 Why" analysis or similar tool to determine a root cause. When collaborating with others, spend extra time building consensus on what exactly you're trying to solve.

2) Define the stakes - knowing the impact of failure or the benefits of success creates urgency to see the process through to completion.

3) Develop a scoreboard - where are you going? How will know when you get there?

4) Develop an action plan to address the root cause - if the problem is large, set milestones along the way to your ultimate goal. That way, progress can be identified and celebrated.

5) Communicate your process and results with others - regardless of the outcome, your colleagues will benefit from understanding your process of decision-making. And the discipline of externalizing how you identified the challenge and why you chose the intervention you did will sharpen your decision making skills (and your team's!) for the future.


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