I have never worked with a company that is happy to spend money. What happens is many intelligent people come together in conference rooms around the world, over what can sometimes take years, to think about how to spend money to improve the organization’s results. The thinking is, “The longer we analyze the decision, the more likely we will make the right decision.”
As in life, any decision we as leaders make is an educated guess, at best, regardless of how long it may take to make the decision. Who we marry; who we vote for; who we hire – vendor or employee; or what process we implement – it is all a gamble.
How can we know when a decision is either right or wrong? Below are a few things to consider.
Make it measurable. Before executing a decision, decide the metrics of success, and how long it will realistically take to see the results. That will tell you if it is working or not. For example, I worked with an organization who implemented an organization restructuring, almost changing every employee to a new role. The leaders asked why it wasn’t translating to the balance sheet after 90 days. It was an unrealistic expectation. Six months, it could be hoped for some positive moment, if nothing else changed. A year would be more realistic to see if the new structure worked.
If the leaders had a discussion before making the change about expectations, it would make the timeline more realistic. It would also help to set that timeline for analysis if the decision was the right decision.
Be humble. Did you make the bad decision? If so, first give yourself a pat on the back for making the decision, even if it didn’t yield the outcome you wanted. Organizations only survive because they evolve. Evolving requires someone who has the courage to make and execute decisions. Communicate with humility that it did not work as planned and talk through strategies to stop activities related to that decision. Next start a transition to a new decision.
Deal delicately with other leader’s bad decisions. This can be very ego sensitive to the leader who made the decision, so your approach is crucial to stop the bad decision. Please use humility and give benefit of the doubt to the reasons behind the decision. It is also helpful if you can quantity your perspectives with data. Finally, express you want to be a part of the solution, and come to the leader with smart alternatives.
Failing repeatedly is the main path to success. It is necessary to make decisions and execute, or a company evolves through tradition and not determination. However, all employees should be constantly evaluating the decisions made and be able to communicate when it is time to let go. This one brave act could save an organization’s future. It is that important.
There is no shame in failing, only not trying. In order to repeatedly try, you must be at a place where you can let it go of the negativity.
Stacey L. Oliver-Knappe, SHRM-CP, PHR is owner of The Customer Service Gurus www.thecustomerservicegurus.com. She is author of “Compassion @ Work.” Her programs, consulting services, and speeches, focus on real world problems faced by every day leaders.