Have you ever noticed how leaders today want to make certain that their decisions are correct before they act. Yet they forget that this is virtually impossible to have everything perfect when we live in a world full of imperfect information and loads of uncertainty.
Sometimes important decisions are postponed and clear objectives become unrealized. This seems to happen when we dont have a clear course to follow – and that is sometimes the primary reason why businesses fail. When there is no clear path to follow, leaders provide vague direction, and they heistate in leading their team by making a decision. They may even desperately hope their team simply figures out the answers along the way. This is obviously a problem, especially when the leader or manager can’t seem to ever line up their expectations with the end result. The manager has a certain set of strategies to follow, while the other person has set their own course in their mind, and the two sets of ideals rarely meet.
Leaders today want to be accurate in their assessments of critical situations, and then again accurate in the delivery of their answers – nothing wrong with this. However, as leaders we must clarify our position and make it clear what we expect the outcome to be. If we don’t know the outcome, then we should help our people understand that with proper planning comes targeted execution. Efficiencies are created, and effective communication takes place to help us achieve whatever anticipated outcome we set out with.
I’ve learned over the years that as leaders, we must make clarity more important than being accurate. I have worked with people who want to think things through to furthest point out in the atmosphere. They can’t make a decision to save their life…let alone a decision to save or support the company. Not only is it annoying, it zaps your energy watching these people sit and hope things fall into place.
Employees, family members, church members, teammates, etc. will learn more from leaders when they make decisions and take decisive action, instead of waiting for the stars to align. Too many managers today will analyze a situation to death, and experience decision constipation. They are so consumed with the thought of possibly failing that they fail to make a decision…any decision, because if they make a decision it could be the wrong one, and if it’s the wrong one they might get fired—oh no! Take a deep breath and use a little common sense.
Lee Iacocca, former CEO and Chairman of Chrysler Corporation was a master of making decisions and standing by his beliefs and values. I don’t always agree with Mr. Iacocca on politics, but you have to love his management style and how he does what he says he will do. He doesn’t mince words, and he gets the job done.
Mr. Iacocca was not able to pull everything together in 1978 and make things work seamlessly for Chrysler, so he had to go to the government to get government-backed loans. He also bargained with the union for cuts in salary and benefits. He reduced his salary to $1.00 per year to show that everyone at the company must be willing to sacrifice if their company was to survive. He was able to understand the worker as well as the executives, and somehow pull them together. By 1983 Mr. Iacocca had Chrysler back on their feet, and on July 13, 1983 Chrysler paid back all their government loans that totaled over $800 million. He made a public statement, “We at Chrysler borrow money the old fashioned way. We pay it back.” Where is Mr. Iacocca now when we need this kind of wisdom at the White House??
Everlasting Principle #2 – Provide Clarity