Friday, 29 December 2017 19:56

How to Improve Your Decision-Making Process

Business leaders must demonstrate intelligence, curiosity and good judgment in their daily lives. Most importantly, they need to be able to make decisions, sometimes controversial ones, and do so with confidence and the ability to persuade others. Without this trait, businesses can get frozen in time and miss valuable opportunities for growth and advancement.

062117 0302cHere at Baillie Hardwood Lumber, we’re always looking for ways to enhance and accelerate the decision-making process. We’re also intent on growing the decision-making talents of those throughout the organization, so that everyone on our team knows how to analyze a given situation and assist in determining the right action steps to take.

As 2018 arrives, this seems like a good time to re-examine key components of the decision-making process:

Know the limitations of “gut instincts.” A case can be made for leaders relying in part on an instinctual understanding of a problem and making a decision based on a “gut feeling.” However, going by your gut isn’t a consistently reliable system for decision-making.

As leadership advisor Mike Myatt notes, “anyone who operates outside of a sound decisioning framework will eventually fall prey to an act of oversight, misinformation, misunderstanding, manipulation, impulsivity or some other negative influencing factor.” Decisions made at the gut level, he maintains, “offer a higher level of risk.”


Decide with conviction and act swiftly.  With the complexity involved in most business operations, a certain degree of situational analysis is always necessary. But effective leaders understand that a moment comes when the decision has to be made. These leaders have what’s called a “bias for action”—the will to come to a decision, even without all of the necessary information at hand and move forward with that decision.

Rescind and alter a decision, if necessary. Strong decision-making includes the capability to quickly determine if a decision made turns out to be the wrong one—and then altering course as soon as possible. Failure to change directions, or in other words, an unwillingness to admit a decision was mistaken even in the light of clear evidence, is not a sign of strong leadership.

Delegate key decisions to your team. A leader doesn’t have to make every decision by herself. The best leaders, in fact, delegate key decisions to strong-minded members of their team, thus enhancing those individuals’ ability to act on their own (and for the betterment of the business). It’s up to the CEO or business owner to support those decisions, but to also request an explanation for taking specific actions if the underlying reason doesn’t appear justified.

Examine the effects of important decisions. Once a decision is made and action is taken, many leaders just move on to the next, inevitable business problem. But a great deal can be learned by conducting an internal “post-mortem” in the aftermath of a resolved situation.

“Strategic decisions should be reexamined through the regular review of key metrics and overall performance,” Myatt says. Undertaking this process means “the organization can grow in its ability to make decisions.”

Almost every day calls for a business leader to make a decision that can significantly affect the health of his or her business. For us in the hardwood lumber business that can be anything from bidding on a timber tract, buying green lumber, deciding what species to saw next or even determining how best to bring our hardwood lumber products to market. We understand how keeping these tips in mind can help clarify the process, while also leaving room to take contingency actions if a decision needs to be adjusted in mid-stream, and other valuable opportunities should be explored.

What other suggestions do you have? We would love to hear from you.

Happy New Year!

Tony Cimorelli
Baillie Lumber Co.
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