Project Management

Is Your Decision-Making Style Holding Your Team Hostage?

Art Petty was in a rough spot when working under two executives at the same time. Granted, one was sales and the other ran marketing, support, and product management, but they shared one key similarity: They hated each other. And Art was forced into an awkward situation not too uncommon for the third wheel in a couple’s argument. However, the situation did teach him a thing or two about decision-making speed and how it affects teams.

Making the Big Decisions Quickly

The executives, titled “A” and “B” for privacy’s sake, ran their teams in two very different ways. The sales head, A, made decisions quickly. He was all about speedily framing situations in the project, picking a direction, and getting things out the door. B, on the other hand, was far slower and more deliberate in his decision-making. Both of these people were executives for a tech company that was in a great industry. Art found himself far more drawn to A’s style and how malleable it was. If there was a problem that needed fixing, A would treat them so they could move forward.

But B would be often too slow and too cautious to make a decision. His approach required the best answer to the problem. And while that got results, it sometimes did so way after they would have been useful. Such executives have such a great fear of failure that it impedes on their team’s progress.

While mistakes could be made in A’s approach, Art defends him as such:

If red flags are popping up because you connote fast decision-making with sloppiness, I will encourage you to think again.

Effective, fast decision-makers become expert at framing the problem to be solved; assessing the need for data; using the data that is available; assessing the impact of a wrong decision and then literally deciding whether to move or pause. They are deliberate decision-makers who found a higher gear than executives such as B.

Yes, mistakes are made as the speed of decision-making increases. Most mistakes aren’t lethal, and most can be undone or improved upon on the run.

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