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The Decision-Making Game

Great problem solvers are made, not born. That’s what we’ve found after working with leaders across the business for decades.

These leaders learn to adopt a particularly open and curious mindset when approaching even the most perplexing of problems - they can be found admirably applying such a mindset to every aspect of their lives and do so in a systematic way with respect to these three types of decisions:

Big Bet decisions

What matters most to senior executives are big-bet decisions. This can be a possible acquisition, which can be high risk, happen infrequently, yet have the possibility to shape the future of the company. These are generally the domain of top teams and board members.

Cross-cutting decisions

A good example would be such as a pricing decision, which can be high risk and is made in cross-functional forums while remaining true to an organization's end-to-end process.

Delegated decisions

These are termed as frequent but low risk (therefore remaining under less scrutiny than other types) and are effectively handled by an individual or working team, with limited input from others.

Visualize the issue

Define the problem your organization is facing. This should be in a few sentences with specific facts and metrics (something along the lines of X % of costs/losses, or by doing A this will result in Y).

While it may be helpful to visualize the problem, it's easier to understand a more complicated situation if you can see all of its aspects in front of you at once. Drawing out is one great way to capture all of these elements as a diagram or chart.

Learn effective decision-making strategies to achieve informed and successful outcomes. Enhance your skills for better choices and results.

Breaking large problems or projects down into smaller, more manageable pieces is an excellent strategy for working together as a team and making progress on your project!

Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish when planning this project. A common goal among teams will be avoiding being overwhelmed during the time it takes to reach your end goals.

Define the Outcome

Defining a business objective is just as important as defining a destination. The objective determines what key results you need to have so that you know for sure you’ve achieved your goal. It’s important that an objective should be focused on the goal and not necessarily on the solution as it might change along the journey.

The objective should then be well-defined before commencing with any solutions, with eventual solutions in mind to enable you to define measurable Key Results.

Solve the root cause

As a strategist for your company or client, engaging in challenging activities is guaranteed to be the main focus of your work.

Actions that are high impact and low effort make a good impression in the eyes of other people since they are quick wins, while solutions that are either very low impact or too high impact but not something you can really have control over (due to its nature) are not worth much more time than it takes to put them out of your mind so you can move on to the next task at hand.

Putting implementation into action

Along with determining the stages or steps, you’ll follow to resolve the problem, you also need to develop a timeline for completion.

Important due dates for work and other areas should be taken into account. This timeline also needs to include time for research, lining up resources and getting help, factoring in unexpected delays or complications, and a cushion so you’re not so pressured toward the end.

First, determine the responsible party and assign them with the job of ascertaining what the specific problem is.

Meeting Efficiency

Every stakeholder should also be clear on what they need to do to meet these deadlines.

The new rules also required leaders to clarify their decision rights in advance and to be more deliberate about managing the number of participants so that meetings wouldn't become bloated, on the one hand, or lack diverse views, on the other.

Effective decision-making is a critical competency for leaders and organizations. By understanding the different types of decisions and implementing the recommended approaches, organizations can enhance their decision-making processes.

Thorough research, diverse perspectives, clear criteria, cross-functional collaboration, and empowered decision-makers contribute to making informed and successful decisions.

Regular review and adaptation of decision-making processes enable organizations to stay agile and respond effectively to evolving challenges and opportunities.


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