Leaders are key decision-makers. Eventually, every CEO will face a choice that could either make or break their organization. To be successful, one must make significant decisions when the stakes are the highest.

What is your decision-making process?

If your answer is “I don’t know” or “I’m still working on it,” here are seven questions to jump-start your thinking. These are questions every leader must answer—either intentionally or intuitively, alone or collaboratively—when making big decisions.

1. Did previous decisions lead to success or failures? 

History can inform your decision-making process. There have been situations when previous choices were invaluable, and when they failed. Knowing preceding results can help guide leaders to make sound decisions.

2. What problem are you solving?

It is crucial to identify and address the underlying needs that must be solved to achieve the objectives and reduce obstacles. Prioritize the problem and implement processes according to its impact and urgency.

3. Whom should you include?

Will executives, board members, and human resources be included in your core group? Or will your team consist of a few key members? Decide who the driver of the decision-making process is and the team’s makeup.

4. What are the benefits and critical risks in making this decision?

Before implementing any plans or procedures, know the potential impacts on the company and its employees. Leaders need to be conscious of who will be affected and how. Preparing for change ahead of time will keep you at an advantage. Address possible consequences by brainstorming various scenarios. 

5. How will the decision be communicated to stakeholders and employees?

It is essential to express each point of the decision clearly and thoroughly. Schedule a meeting or conference call, create a project summary report, or send out a newsletter. Be aware of your audience and gear your delivery uniquely towards stakeholders and employees.  

6. Are the possible solutions aligned with your company’s core values and corporate culture? 

A company’s guiding principles determine workplace culture and identify the organization as a whole. They set the tone for the business. Misalignment can damage relationships and productivity. When making a decision, be sure it aligns with the company’s core values.

7. Who will be accountable for following through on the decision to lead to success? 

This is a critical step in forming a collaborative, results-driven team with a clear vision and direction. Select key members who consistently communicate well with each other, review micro and macro goals, have the ability to adapt to change and accelerate performance and productivity.  

What big decisions are on your horizon?

As you think about your leadership style and how you will apply these decision-making principles, remember these words by Franklin Roosevelt: “There are many ways of moving forward, but only one way of standing still.”

The bottom line is when making critical decisions; great leaders know what questions to ask. Not asking them can result in significant damage. Asking and getting enough timely answers usually results in significant opportunities and accomplishments.

Lead Well,