All great leaders are described by the quality of the decisions. Although leaders can assign, postpone, or defer decisions, finally there are a few things that only the leader can pick. As President Harry Truman famously said, the buck stops here. He realized that finally, he had to take responsibility and make decisions about the essential issues facing the nation. Similarly, leaders of any company must also make key decisions and take the responsibility for their outcomes. This philosophy may sound easy, but it does not mean it is easy. Frequently leaders need to make decisions with scant details. They rely upon a decision making model to help them. Consider the example of the AIME decision making model:
Assess the Situation. Whenever they are confronted with a decision, leaders evaluate the circumstance. This can be a fast estimate of the situation or a more comprehensive analysis based on the amount of time available in communicating with influence. Regardless, they constantly evaluate the problem by considering relevant facts that bear on the issue. Experienced leaders will understand intuitively which facts to examine and immediately assess the situation.
Experienced emergency room physicians do this all of the time. While they appear to easily make rapid decisions, in actuality, they start by analyzing the patient’s condition by taking a look at the proper vital signs or evaluation results. The reason that they can move quickly to a decision is due to their experience they have probably seen a similar situation before that they could relate to their current situation. Less experienced leaders or physicians will want to get assistance from trusted colleagues to make their evaluation nevertheless; they need to begin the process by taking a look at the relevant facts.
Implement a very simple plan. After gathering Information to make their decision, the next move would be to devise a simple plan. To create their strategy, they will likely consider their workable options. Normally there are no more than five choices. If there are more than five, it behoves the chief to rapidly eliminate all but the most workable and reach the three best choices. Once the options are identified, they evaluate the benefits and drawbacks of each of the options.
If time permits, they occasionally do a deliberate analysis with a decision matrix whereby each choice is evaluated against specific decision criteria they might have someone from their staff study the details for each choice and present their findings in the kind of a comparative analysis which might point to an option that is clearly superior to the others. But once the analysis is finished with whatever detail is allowed as a result of time limits, the leader must pick an alternative and make their choice.