I wrote about something similar just over a year ago, on 6 May 2016 to be precise yet the subject of decision making came up again at Thinking Digital this year. Sometime soon I am going to get to the end of my Thinking Digital 17 stories. I have a few left however.
Mark Mullen, the Chief Executive of Atom Bank said that one of the most important decisions that he had to make was when to make a decision or not to make a decision. There were a lot of decisions in that sentence and I hope you know what he means.
The question I asked last year was ‘Does a good leader make many decisions or few decisions?’ The question I am now pondering over is ‘Does a good leader know when to make the decision or not?’
Mullen’s issue was slightly different to my original question where I argued that it was paradoxical to decide not to make a decision. It can be seen as a weakness when actually it is sign of strength. My apparent indecision is borne of decisiveness. I am sticking to my principles. It is not my decision to make.
We see politicians lambasted by the media for being indecisive when instead they may well be considering their options.
His issue was more to do with the order in which decisions are to be made. Is this something I need to decide now or should I leave it? Circumstances may change and it may be better if I left a decision until the picture is clearer. If I don’t make the decision now will the opportunity be lost forever?
We see this with successful investors who seem to know instinctively when to buy and sell. In the words of Kenny Rogers:
You’ve got to know when to hold ’em, Know when to fold ’em, Know when to walk away, And know when to run.
I’m going to stick with my original hypothesis in that a good leader makes the decisions when appropriate.