Make the Right Choices
Every day you head in to work, you’re faced with a series of choices. And no doubt, with every decision comes an opportunity to demonstrate your leadership capability and integrity. But with major decisions, this fact becomes even more true—the bigger or more complex the issue at hand, the harder it can be to make those tough calls. In such situations, it’s not uncommon to struggle internally and you may not win any company “popularity contests” in the short run. But in the long run, making the right decision is always best for you and your people. Over time, your team will come to understand and respect your choices, and your credibility will remain in tact. They will see you as a Disciplined Leader, someone who is consistently courageous and committed to doing what’s right. Whether pressured by time, money, professional peers, the media, or any other factor, you’ll call the right shots. Need greater direction around how to make the tough calls within your realm of leadership responsibility? Look to your values and let them guide you in determining what’s truly right and what to do.
As a leader, you may find you face tough choices when it comes to managing customers, employees, and their boss. Here are some tips to help:
Customers. We’ve all heard the saying, “Customer comes first.” But research from Bain & Company shows that while 80% of executives believe they’re offering stellar customer experience, only 8% of their customers agree with them. This serious disconnect means the right choices aren’t being made. How do you make the right choices relative to your customers? First, you get feedback and really listen to them. Then, you make sure that your company’s goals, strategies, and tactics align with and support the company’s focus on the customer. With decisions big and small, every choice must pass the litmus test: Is what we’re deciding supporting our commitment to our customers and their needs/wants? Take your customers seriously—at your next executive meeting, grab an empty chair and put it up to the table to express the importance of your customers interests to others on your team. If customers could sit there today, what would they say? How would they feel?
Employees. Decisions that you make relative to your team will always be easier if you establish yourself as someone who is fair and consistent in how you hire, manage, and treat your people overall. For example, with hiring, rely on good ethics and your company’s values and mission to make the right choices about who to hire and why. When you’re questioning whether to hire someone you “like,” make sure you’re hiring them for the right reasons not just because of their personality or charisma, for example. That same consistent, fair approach must also be used in performance management. When holding your people accountable, taking corrective actions, and rewarding, reinforcing, and even celebrating the right behaviors, use your values and ethics as your compass. Navigating the choices you make based on what’s truly right, not just what feels easy, convenient, cheaper, comfortable, or trendy.
Boss. The choices you make relative to a boss can make or break your career. So particularly with big decisions, you really need to pay attention and make choices that reflect that you “get” your boss and can meet his/her needs by managing critical decision-making effectively. The best bosses will appreciate your courage and will value and reward that. They will also be grateful for this aspect of responsibility to “manage up,” in which you’re remaining consistently fair and focused about how you’re making choices that may impact and support their values and goals.
Where do you struggle with decision-making in your job?