The Cost of Waiting

Decisiveness is attractive.

Leaders who make decisions have an advantage. They learn from actions rather than theory. A wrong decision is still useful. It gives you new information to use in the future.

Most people will tolerate a bad decision. They may not agree with it, but they will respect your decisiveness. What they will not stand for is a lack of leadership. To be a leader means you make decisions that impact the lives of the people around you. 

When you fail to decide, you fail to lead.

Not making a decision is still a decision. It is a decision to delay. It is a decision to take up more of your time in the future by reevaluating the information at a later date. Sometimes the right decision is to delay. But you need to ensure it is an intentional decision rather than procrastination. Do you know what the cost is of delaying?

Delaying a decision delays the reward.

The more important the decision, the greater likelihood we will delay making it. We want to ensure we have enough information to move forward. Unfortunately, there will always be more data to gather that could impact your decision. All decisions have a window. Gather the information you need to act while the window is still open.

If you want to lead, you must learn to navigate uncertainty. Embrace the unknown and cast the vision of where you are leading your team. If you make a mistake, regroup. Continue to spend your energy working towards something that matters.

Remember, your team is following your lead. If you create a culture of delaying decision making, your organization will do likewise. Be assertive. Make a decision. If you need extra data before you can decide then actively seek out the information.

ACTION STEP:

When working with groups that are resistant to needed change, find a way to get the cost of deferring on the table. Make sure it is clear and understandable. This is the cost of waiting. Have the group sign off on the consequences. It will change the attitude and culture of the group.

Bryan Clifton

Oklahoma City, OK