November 2014

The Elusive Perfect Decision

What do the National Football League, the Ferguson Police Department, and the United States Congress have in common? Not a hard question, it is the lack of Decision-Making Ability.

In my experience, it is not uncommon for government officials, business executives and people in decision-making positions to delay making a decision. Many never seem to have enough information, they need more data, or worse, they need more time. They are on a quest, "The Quest for the Perfect Decision." They are caught in the iron grip of fear.

Being decisive is second nature for effective leaders. They have a process and understand that decision-making is a never-ending cycle. Decisions, all decisions, carry with them unintended consequences. Once a decision is made, the process continues. It is a loop. It is known as the "OODA-Loop." The model was developed by an Air Force pilot and is used throughout the U.S. Armed Forces.

Using a model for decision making and understanding there is no such thing as a perfect decision the ability to make decisions should improve—right? Sadly, that is not the case.

Decision-making is a process. It requires having actionable information in order to develop viable alternatives. Those alternatives must be weighed against the must haves, wants, and risks. Accomplishing that you are left with the best decision based on the business need for an action.

The NFL, Ferguson Police Department, and the U.S. Congress are facing a similar situation. Each has their back against the wall of public opinion. Each has a need to make sound decisions. Each is in need of a process for making their decisions. It is evident neither has a process.

As a young Marine Officer it was drilled into us that lack of decisiveness that is delaying a decision or worse, not making a decision can be catastrophic to the unit. As we see playing out in the media, lack of a good decision-making process, leads to decisions that are as bad as making no decision. Reputations are damaged. Veracity of talented leaders, owners, law enforcement officials and government representatives are in question.

What is your decision-making process? Talented leaders fail every day; businesses collapse for lack of one. Don't be the next great public failure.

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© 2014 by John Boggs all rights reserved.

Use Your Intelligence

A recent article in the HBR Blog Network, Ignore Emotional Intelligence at Your Own Risk, the author makes a very good case about emotional intelligence (EI).

Ladies, in my experience too many men will consider EI as too soft and accordingly will give it little credibility. I strongly advise that you pay attention to EI. Put down "Lean In" and start reading Daniel Goleman's New York Times bestselling book "Primal Leadership." Everyone in a leadership position should be familiar with the impact of emotions on leading.

Great leaders have the ability to ignite the spirit. They have the ability to move the organization to great heights with seemingly little effort.

Industry needs more women in senior positions. Equally important, they need women and men who are capable of leading. Dismissing EI as "too soft" is a hard mistake.

Rule #20

This section is dedicated to giving short pieces of advice on becoming what I like to call an Exceptional Leader. Being good on any given day is easy. Being exceptional requires daily effort. Enjoy the read.

Yes, I am going to go over Rule #20. Last month was Rule #1. There is too much going on in the media that requires addressing this rule now. Exceptional leaders make use of learning points as they present themselves.

The 20th Rule of Leadership is Judgment. The ability to weigh facts and possible solutions on which to base sound decisions.

Sounds simple? With all that is going on in the world concerning health care, specifically Ebola, one has to wonder if anyone in positions of authority has any judgment. Decisions are being made based on fears vice facts. As you continue to develop into an exceptional leader remember get the facts, weigh them out, determine viable alternatives, make a decision.

Keep in mind the media are in business too. Watching the Ebola crisis unfold the media's motto may be one that reads like this: "Fear is a Terrible Thing to Waste!"

Exceptional leaders do not take counsel of their fears. Get the facts, weigh them out; make a decision.

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