How exciting is decision-making?? I’ve always enjoyed the logic that goes into navigating the personal and professional crossroads of life. Sometimes things work out. Other times it’s a disaster. Did we make the right call? How can we know for sure?
I read a book a couple years ago that took decision-making to a whole new level. It was Decisive by Chip & Dan Heath. I don’t think I’ve heard as comprehensive (or creative) a thinking process as it relates to decision-making. And the best part is that is applies to nearly all circumstances, from business (should we sue a bigger company? offer a discount on our products?) to personal (should I break up with my significant other? let my adult child move back home? buy a new TV?).
Here is a brief summary of the WRAP decision-making process the Heath brothers use:
Adversity is no respecter of persons. Our experiences are usually different, but each of us gets our turn. Our organizations do too, for that matter.
So what happens when adversity strikes? How can we climb our way our of it? This isn’t an exhaustive list, but here are some thinking patterns that have helped me maintain a sense of sanity and clarity over the years.
Zig Ziglar once said that “a goal properly set is halfway reached.” I don’t know about you, but I always figured if I could get a 50% head start in anything, I’d take it! Of course it can take a lot of effort to slug through the dog days of execution, especially if your goal is to run a marathon or something tough and long-term like that. But the greater battle is usually for clarity at the onset.
So how do you get clarity when it comes to goal-setting?
You’ve probably heard about SMART goals before. If you haven’t, this little model could change your life. If you have, it’ll be a good refresher. Here are the steps to transforming regular, ordinary goals into SMART goals.
“I don’t like to micro manage,” my friend lamented. “But even when I set clear expectations and deadlines, I find myself having to guide the entire process or else the ball gets dropped. Is that an employee issue or a leadership issue?”
It’s hard enough to want to delegate in the first place. Many leaders lack trust, are insecure or are control freaks. But once you get past those barriers, what happens when your followers can’t pull their weight? Let’s talk about a few ways managers can guide their projects so that everyone can contribute.
When I was a college student, my New Venture Studies class had the opportunity to advise a local resident starting his own coffee shop. As an aspiring entrepreneur, I was excited to be involved – that is, until I realized the capital came from an inheritance. I was further perturbed when one of his first initiatives was to purchase a brand new Honda Element to cover with advertising before his shop was even finished. Our client didn’t need a new vehicle. He needed a strategic plan.
You’ve probably heard the adage, “if you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.” Strategic planning initiatives give organizational and departmental leaders the chance to define strategy, set direction and make key decisions. It breathes life into the vision and gives the existing motivation a track to run on. But a plan doesn’t inherently ensure success.
I recently spoke with my friend John Maloney of ASJ Consulting about why strategic planning fails. Whether you’re a one-man shop or a large organization, here are some of the main reasons we identified.