Decision making and leading

I recently spoke for an organization where one of the company’s Vice Presidents spoke right after me, so I heard his presentation. He gave his secrets to good leadership. One of his “secrets” was that he made decisions quickly. He explained that he gathers the facts and then makes the decision fast. His rationale was that sitting on a decision can only create stale-ness in the organization–allowing it to languish.

On the other hand, we have Steven Sample’s (President of USC) decision making principles (from the Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership):

  1. Never make a decision yourself that can reasonably be delegated to a lieutenant.
  2. Never make a decision today that can reasonably be put off until tomorrow. 

Hmmm…so is one of these better than the other? Or are they just situational–meaning we use both in different ways?


One Comment

  1. KC March 6, 2009 at 1:46 am - Reply

    Dr. D-

    An organization is living, it ebbs and flows. To the point, decision-making is situational and also specific to the decision. I agree with the USC dude, if you can delegate the decision, do it. As I develop my leadership skills I am increasingly using a decision-making technique that the Japanese use. In the West, we want the decision and we want it now. Uncertainty and ambiguity is not good in Western culture. But there is another way of considering decisions. Toss them up into the air of uncertainty and let them float there and wash over you until you are prepared to decide. It will freak people out!

    I think the VP mentioned has a style that may or not work in his organization. On the face, it sounds silly to me. Take your time, toss the decision up into the air if the situation allows.

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