3 Steps to Flawless Decision-Making


During one of my workshops on decision making, the head of a large health care system asked me: “Don’t you have some simple formula for flawless decision making, even for tough decisions?” I thought about it for a moment and wrote down three things on a flipchart:

1. Spell it out

2. Follow through

3. Communicate results

Over time, I refined this list, adding details to each step.

Step 1. Spell It Out

  • Define the desired results
  • Define the process, step by step
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities at each step
  • Write down expectations and a timetable
  • Identify critical path issues

Step 2. Follow Through

  • Monitor progress
  • Keep people informed
  • Address conflicts
  • Make the decision

Step 3. Communicate Results

  • Communicate the decision
  • Explain the rationales
  • Provide feedback on process and results
  • Recognize people for their contribution

Not every decision will be made flawlessly if you follow these three steps. There are many judgment calls to make along the way. I am suggesting, however, that all flawless decisions must include these three steps.

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