In this issue:
As a leader in the organization, you have a Big Decision to make. You need more data. However, getting the data is impossible in the timeframe you need to decide. The data you want might not even exist. What do you do?
You could pray. I'm not against prayer, but prayer is not enough. Prayer— by itself—does not work for challenging decisions. I find that the pressure to find a Good Answer for these challenging decisions makes prayer a lousy alternative for me!
Instead, consider these alternatives:
- Work with your colleagues.
- Generate at least three options that allow you to create experiments.
- Revisit your decision after several short experiments.
Let's start with working with colleagues.
Work with Colleagues
If you've read any of my books, you know I'm a huge fan of teams tackling and solving problems. See a recent Pragmatic Manager: Create Your Peer Management Team for Fun and Profit (and Solve Problems) to apply the same thinking to managers and their cohort teams.
It doesn't matter what kind of a leader you are—create a team of people to work with you.
Make sure those people can work together in an atmosphere of psychological safety. If this is a new team, you might need working agreements. You might discover you need to change or modify those agreements as you work together.
Now that you have a team, it's time to generate options.
Generate Enough Options
You might want to review the Rule of Three to understand how to generate options. Consider developing five or six options in a short timebox, say 10-15 minutes. Then, ask these questions:
- In what ways do we understand the problem better?
- Which options require little or no data?
- Can we use any of these options as a small experiment?
As you ask thee questions, you might realize you have more possibilities, especially as small experiments. You might need to repeat your option generation one more time.
I aim for options that fulfill these two needs:
- I don't need much or any data to start.
- I can learn and recover from small experiments.
I use words such as: “experiment,” “learn fast,” and “options” a lot when I have a challenging decision. The more pressure I feel, the more I need to create some space to revisit my decision.
Revisit the Decision After Experimentation
Sometimes, you need a decision Right Now, and you don't think you can revisit that decision.
In my experience, I might need a decision soon, as in the next few days to a week. If I then run experiments, I might be able to revisit that decision. Then, armed with more data, I can make a better decision.
Even if I choose a terrible alternative for an experiment, I can revisit that decision.
Consider Your Options
If you can easily access the data you need, terrific. You might want to consider the options below. However, if you can't get the data fast, start with what you already know. Then, reduce your ambiguity by:
- Working with other people.
- Generating options
- Deciding for now, not forever.
If you try these ideas, let me know how they work for you.
If you liked this, you'll like the ideas in the Modern Management Made Easy books. This idea is from Book 3: Practical Ways to Lead an Innovative Organization.
Do you want to be a successful consultant? Join my March 2021 Cohort. See all the details on the workshop page.
Want to build your nonfiction writing chops? See the Q2 2021 Writing workshop.
The Modern Management Made Easy books are done and out everywhere! Yes, the ebooks and print books are available in all stores and in your local library. You will probably have to ask the library for the books.
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Here are links you might find useful:
- My Books. (BTW, if you enjoyed one of my books and you have not yet left a review, please do. Thanks.)
- Online Workshops
- Managing Product Development Blog
- Create an Adaptable Life
- Johanna's Fiction
Till next time,
© 2021 Johanna Rothman
Tags: decision, management, Modern Management Made Easy, rule of three, servant leadership