How can leaders consistently make great decisions, particularly during times of considerable change and uncertainty?
Today’s guest post is by Jack P. Flaherty, author of The Decision Switch: 7 Principles of Successful Decision-Making (CLICK HERE to get your copy).
We are experiencing one of the greatest revolutions the business world has ever seen and unlike any other we have experienced in our lifetimes.
Are we ready for this?
In 1965, Gordon Moore saw it coming. He posited that the computing power of microchips would double every two years. A prediction he confirmed a decade later, concluding it would likely continue. “Moore’s Law” has since been used to describe the ever-increasing speed of technological innovation. But Mr. Moore and his Law could not have predicted the impact the latest technological developments, such as automation and artificial intelligence (AI), would have on virtually every industry and aspect of business.
Let’s take a moment and define some important terms. Automation is our ability to use software scripts to perform what were historically human tasks in a fraction of the time, reducing the need for manual labor and ostensibly increasing efficiency. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is our ability to use new technology platforms for processing data, recognizing patterns, and making decisions, all while constantly learning and improving their effectiveness, very much like humans.
What jobs and industries will be impacted by automation, if not displaced? What about AI and the ripple effect it already has had on creativity and informed decision-making? How will automation and AI continue to drive the current wave of digital disruption, and will we even need accountants or fast-food restaurant order-takers, after they become ubiquitous and widely adopted? Conversely, what jobs and industries will be created as a result? Who will be the winners and the losers?
Now, more than ever before, it is essential for today’s leaders and their organizations to adopt a decisive and agile mindset; one which can monitor the horizon, identify opportunities and threats, and make the types of productive decisions required to achieve their objectives and goals. I assure you that those who are decisive and agile, able to quickly pivot and pursue new opportunities will come out on top.
So, how do we do this and do it consistently?
First, we have to realize that decision-making is a process, not an event. It is the ability to assess and identify when you are being prompted by a change of any kind. The current big change is a technological change of the first magnitude. But the truth is, change of one kind or another is happening all the time in organizations. Those changes may create less urgency than what the current wave of digital disruption is creating, but they need to be successfully managed, nonetheless.
Over the past two decades, I have worked with and in top organizations. It was clear to me that some were far better at making decisions than others. Several years ago, I began to develop a decision-making framework that I call ‘The Decision Switch’, based on proven principles I have myself adopted. I have used it extensively and taught it to my teams with remarkable results. Seeing a growing need, created by an increasingly complex and less forgiving business climate, I sought to address a critical development need for leaders and authored my new book, The Decision Switch: 7 Principles of Successful Decision-Making.
The framework for The Decision Switch:
- Triage First: Increase your productivity by assessing and prioritizing before taking action
- Follow Your North Star: Defining a clear objective serves to align all subsequent decisions
- Collaborate with Others: The power of numbers helps to achieve your goals
- Recognize Cognitive Bias: Eliminating mental blinders creates more productive outcomes
- Establish a Champion: Visionary leaders are able to provide credibility and influence others
- Manage Fallout: Integrity and legacy start with awareness, empathy, and: helping others
- Practice Self-Reflection: An acute sense of self-awareness empowers personal growth
A framework built on the validated premise, decision-making is a process and not an event. While not necessary to follow it in the exact order, all the steps are important in whatever order they are taken. Following it will keep leaders from making knee-jerk or uninformed decisions and ultimately, mistakes. It will help identify potential risks and impediments and enable you to establish a clear path forward. Allowing you to move forward confidently, knowing you have asked the right questions and made the most optimal choice available.
While digital disruption is creating tremendous opportunities for those able to catch and ride the wave of change, it is sure to wreak havoc on those paralyzed by fear and anxiety, due to a lack of understanding and heightened uncertainty about the future of their business or career.
The decisions that will be made around these new and quickly evolving technologies and yet-to-be-developed innovations, will need to be continually assessed to determine whether you or your organization is ready for what’s next, and how to proceed with confidence in your choices and actions.
At the end of the day, it’s a simple equation: Better Decisions = Better Outcomes. It’s completely possible and that’s good for everyone involved.
I wish you all the best.
Consultant and speaker, Jack Flaherty, is the author of The Decision Switch: 7 Principles of Successful Decision-Making.
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