What We’re Reading: The Fine Art of Decision Making

"Teams" don't and can't make a decision - people do.

By Sam Robinson

The podcast: The Fine Art of Decision Making by Margaret Heffernan at the BBC

What I think:

A major topic we don’t always describe directly but is a major theme of our client work: decision making. There are some great nuggets in this podcast, it’s well worth a listen. A bunch of ideas and advice from this podcast that line up very well with client work at LKS Quaero:

  • Have a clear direction – we call this a purpose. It can and should be boiled down to a single sentence. It’s not quick or easy work though and deserves plenty of effort and reflection
  • Create an environment where a team can raise ideas, challenge, clarify. It is easy to dictate to people as if they are machines. It is proper work of a leader to create conditions where are ideas and challenge are raised by and among the team consistently and respectfully
  • Learn, learn, learn. Make mistakes and learn again. Pull off a win and learn. Don’t beat yourself up. Create a fast feedback loop not silence. Encourage others to do the same

And a challenge. The podcast skates over this – we never do because my team and I think that this point is of extreme importance. “Teams” don’t and can’t make a decision – people do. An enormous amount of angst and confusion as well as out-and-out dishonesty can be held in place by expecting a decision from a group or a team. A lot of the time – not always – but a lot of the time it is very helpful to have someone in a leadership role to make a decision “within a team,” not “by a team”. The distinction is critical and deserves a whole different discussion.

At LKS Quaero, we support organisations to get decision making right. For more information, visit us at lksquaero.com or follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook.