In every industry, great leaders are memorable because they are engaged and passionate about their business. But when it comes to daily decision-making they've also learned the art of making choices that maximize organizational resources while pursuing long-term objectives. With a clearly defined strategic direction, and seamless operations in place leaders who make effective day-to-day decisions are free to concentrate their attention on value-added work, leading to increased productivity and profitability.
What is the key to effective decision-making at the day-to-day level?
Prioritizing and Empowerment. Prioritization is Key
There's no other way to break it down; part of effective decision-making at the day-to-day level is prioritizing. As any leader will cede there are never enough hours in the day so how you spend your time and how you build your team through the delegation of responsibility and authority is paramount. Handing off tasks to other qualified individuals in the organization gives leaders the time to complete the value-added work that only they can do. It also puts decision-making closest to the problem or opportunity being addressed making them far more timely. Otherwise spending time doing work that could easily be assigned to another is a waste of resources talent and energy. Leaders who prioritize effectively have more time to spend on decisions where they can have the greatest impact.
Empower Subordinates to Resolve Problems
The best-run organizations are those that empower employees as far down within the organization as possible. Subordinates who are given the opportunity to use their talents can grow, learn, and ultimately become more productive. The truth is the further you can push day-to-day decisions down into your organization the more effective your decisions will be because they will be made closer to the problem and the customer. Many of the best-run organizations in the world such as Ritz Carlton, Southwest Airlines, Chick-Fil-A, Nordstroms, and Container Store live these empowerment principles daily. A strong by-product of this style of leadership is happy and engaged team members, lower turnover, and a strong sense of belonging within the organization.
Deal With Decisions Appropriately
Dealing directly with an issue results in problems getting solved much quicker than if they are pushed up to other levels or individuals. In bureaucratic agencies and large organizations, people are generally not permitted to make decisions at the local level and most decision-making gets accelerated to committees and groups. As a consequence, decisions are often delayed for hours, months, even years. We've all heard someone say "I don't have the authority to do that" or "Sorry that's not my job". That drives me crazy! Where is the effectiveness in that? The decisions leaders should be making are the ones that globally affect the business and its customers, not the ones that are minute and usual. Proper time management not only by leaders but by everyone from your direct reports and management to your newest hire is critical for achieving efficiency in day-to-day decisions that lead to improved productivity and increased revenue. Take it from the Ritz Carlton organization where employees are given authority to make any decision up to $1,000 in value that will result in an improved guest experience. Empowerment is a positive, easy, and extremely effective way to enhance decision-making at any level.