There are those moments in leadership when you have to make quick decisions. Decisions which impact others. Decisions that will be hard to reverse. Decisions which you would usually spend days, weeks or months deciding…have to be made now. There is no choice. There are the decisions that you wish you had more time to make, but you don’t. Every leader I know has those moments.
What do you do?
First, my experience is that this is a rare occurrence in leadership. Many times you feel you have to move faster than you really do and my advice is to try not to make quick decisions any more than possible. Proverbs says, “haste makes mistakes” and that’s true. There are times, however, when, as a leader, you simply have to move forward. So, when you do, here are a few ways to make better quick decisions.
7 ways to make decisions fast:
Pray – Sentence prayers work. Ask God His opinion on the matter. He cares about the smallest details of your life. He may be doing something bigger than you can imagine, however, so He may allow you freedom to choose knowing that He will work things for an ultimate good. Ask for His input first though.
Check your boundaries – Hopefully you have certain lines you will not cross. Does this decision cross any of them? If so, wait. If not, you’re freer to move forward.
Take the emotion out of it – Emotional decisions are seldom rational decisions. Do I need to say that again? If you haven’t considered the black and white decision, if there is one, do that first. As much as possible, try to remove your personal agenda and your emotional response from the answering of the question at hand.
Phone a friend – Moments like these are why you need people in your corner who can quickly speak truth into your life. I have a few friends who always take my call. Before I “pull the trigger”, I’m pushing the speed dial.
Pull from past experiences – You may not have made this decision, but you’ve made other decisions in your life. Try to pull in as close a parallel as you can. Glean from your successes and your failures.
Don’t let fear dominate – Fear is always a part of decision making, especially if it involves a risk of any kind. Fear can sometimes be a protector, so don’t ignore it, but don’t let it be the dominate decider either. The hardest and scariest decisions are often the most needed.
Trust your gut – You’ve made good decisions before…haven’t you? Or even if you feel you haven’t, you probably knew the right decision to make, even though you didn’t make it. We have a sense of right and wrong that allows us to know when we are making blatant errors. So, go with the gut that says, “this is the right decision.” Many times you’ll be right.
Those are a few suggestions. Keep in mind, you will make mistakes this way. When you have to make quick decisions, you will get burnt at times. I’m not pretending you won’t. But, there are times where a quick decision is needed. That’s leadership. Don’t shy away from it simply because of the timing.