Leadership in Times of Uncertainty: Decision Making

This current world-wide reality is like nothing else we’ve experienced in modern life. In these times of uncertainty, besides connecting and doing critical thinking together, I appreciate that we have many leaders in history to help inspire our own commitment to our vision and our business, as well as inspire our ability to make decisions during this difficult time. 

It’s an understatement to say there is a great deal of uncertainty in our country and the world. And just when you think you’ve got a handle on the facts, you wake up, turn on the news, and everything has changed. One thing is clear: how to make the right decisions can keep most anyone awake at night. 

Decision Making

So, just what does it take for leaders to make decisions in such a challenging time as this? Many words come to mind, but here are a few: courage, strength, values, confidence, commitment—and for those of you in our Leading Edge Teams programs, I would add, you can “trust the process”… 

For now, during this time of such uncertainty, as you make leadership decisions allow yourself to feel and experience the positive energy behind your words. It’s motivating! I’d love to hear the words that come to mind for you (comment below).  

In this case, you find direction and strength in living out such meaningful words in tangible actions. (The ones above, or those you thought of…) 

As you make decisions, be confident that they align with your vision of your business outcomes and the impact you want to have in the world. This is what leadership and decision-making is all about, professionally and personally.

One example, Theodore Roosevelt used his leadership impact to bring about major decisions that protect wildlife and public lands, forests, reserves, parks, monuments—all for our enjoyment and benefit over a century later. I wonder… what if he hadn’t made decisions based on what he valued? What if he hadn’t stayed committed? Our loss. 

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”  – Theodore Roosevelt

I ask you to heed this, because right now, during this world-wide crisis that has walked right in your door, at work and at home, doing nothing is simply not an option.  

And let me add, that the “right thing” is the best decision you are able to make at this very moment—based on all the facts you have currently. During this time of crisis, we know the facts keep changing every single day, so revisit your decisions frequently. 

Be aware of not making emotionally reactive decisions. To help assure you don’t, take time to hear your stakeholders/team members’ perspectives. Listen attentively without commitment. Take in all information.   

Try this process in your meetings.

  • Have a “discussion session.” Take time to receive new information and facts from all.
  • Revisit earlier decisions. 
  • Start with “what’s changed?” What is best to do now, based on the new information?
  • If necessary, pivot earlier decision(s).
  • Choose the best decision, now, out of the current alternatives. 
  • Repeat this process at each meeting. Followup.
  • Have a “recovery plan” when the best decision doesn’t work. Shift! 

For sure, decision making is especially hard right now. Being 100 percent sure is not available—at best you will feel 65 to 70 percent confident in your decision. 

Times of Uncertainty: Cartoon: Meter of Certainty - Leading Edge Teams

As you move forward remember to factor in your long-term vision. It can be a challenge to do so but that is why you need to keep your team close and connect often.

Clear Outcomes

SHORT TERM GOALS to keep in front of you as you make daily decisions:   

  • Ride out this uncertain time and position yourself to catch the new wave. It is important to remember there is a long term.
  • Stay transparent and closely connected to all of your people. Circle up frequently!
  • Take the time to be up-to-date on facts from all your team’s perspectives. 
  • Make decisions based on facts. Revisit decisions, pivot when necessary. 
  • Practice Self-Leadership. Influence through the mindset and language of your best self.  
  • Seize opportunity. Use downtime to be prepared and ready. 

LONG TERM    

  • Seize the opportunity that you prepared for yesterday. 
  • Keep adjusting “V” State, the big vision you are striving for; gain knowledge.
  • Utilize this time to build a community that trusts you.
  • Create free offers, support and service. Be part of the solution.
  • Remember that there is a “long term” with brand new days, new opportunities.
  • Prepare and adjust infrastructure of business and team (meetings, systems…)
  • Restructure functional organization.

Both short term and long term take emotional endurance and a commitment to self-care! Remember, you are a human being, not a robot. Eat. Sleep. Exercise. 

Another leadership tip: committing to a routine helps you keep up with the “out-of-routine” work and decision-making. Prioritize the needed hours for your personal life, self-care, and overall wellness. Strike a balance that works for you. 

Make good use of each of the suggestions I make in the bullets above. These will help you focus and take effective action today… and then do it again tomorrow! 

You have the ability to transform this current challenge and stress into effective action and thrive!

Remember, your Self-Leadership is a beacon of light for your team to follow. Walk forward. Make fact-based decisions, pivot when you need to, and seize opportunities when they rise up. And don’t do it alone! Use your team. There has never been a more pertinent time to gather varied perspectives and share good critical thinking.                      

Stay grounded and connected!  Let us know if my team and I can support you in any way.

– Annie

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