Making Better Decisions
Don't mix decision and implementation.
One of my main responsibilities when working with clients is to help consulting partners make better decisions. To earn more from our practice without putting in more hours, we need to identify the right things to work on. The tasks and initiatives that will really move the needle of the business.
Wei Deng, CEO of Clipboard Health, shared a great idea to improve partners' decision-making.
A lot of people, when faced with a difficult decision, get paralyzed and delay it. We can list potential solutions and evaluate their pros and cons, but this often doesn't help much. Even after asking for external advice or feedback we might still feel the answer is not the right one.
In these cases, we are often mixing the decision and its implementation. The decision itself is often clear or even obvious, but the implementation feels complicated or painful. When we put them together, our fear about the implementation of the decision makes us want to throw away the whole thing.
Deng suggests we can overcome this problem by separating the two. To do that:
- Answer "Who do we serve primarily?": If you are leading a consulting firm, these people are your clients. If it's a personal issue, it's you and/or the members of your family.
- Ask yourself "What is the best interest of the person we serve primarily?": This answer will illuminate the correct decision. Write it down.
- Only now think of the implementation: It will probably be difficult and painful, and require an effort from you and other people to make it happen.
When thinking about the implementation, you have two different routes to follow:
- You can simply implement, ignoring the effort and pain it causes to others.
- Or you can list those difficulties, share them with all of the people that are going to be affected, and discover how you can make it easier for them to make to put this decision into practice. And then, implement.
If this process makes sense but you struggle to put it into practice, share it with one of your colleagues or friends and ask them to walk you through it. They will probably help you make the decision. Why?
Because they do not fear the pain of implementation. Only you do.