Does making a decision come easily to you or do you struggle to come up with the perfect solution? Everyone has a personal decision-making style, but that style may not always be the best one for your business. Essentially, there are four main types of business decision styles, and often the most effective leaders use a combination of styles depending on the decision being made. Which one are you?
Directive decision-making is not collaborative, so it is not the best choice in situations where more research and outside opinions are valuable — even critical — to your company’s success. Directive decision-makers often make quick, impulsive decisions based on their own knowledge and experience. At times this can work well, for example when deciding whether to continue working with a particular vendor, but at other times, directive decisions can be detrimental to your business, for example when deciding whether to commit to introducing a new product or service to the market. If directive decision-making is your natural style, be mindful of the potential effect on others will be key to being a more effective leader. To engage your team, build trust and encourage others to provide input. In doing this, you can learn to delegate some decisions to others.
Analytic decision-makers tend to make decisions slowly and with a great deal of thought. They seek research, input from others, and/or their own observations before reaching a conclusion. Sometimes this decision-making style turns into a situation in which no decision is made because there never is enough information or input, which could result in missed opportunities. Analytic decision-makers need to remember that generally they are faced with a dilemma: How much research can you do in the allotted time? Therefore, analytic decision-makers need to become comfortable with the fact that a certain amount of ambiguity will remain no matter how long you ponder a decision. Building in a guardrail like a deadline can keep you on track.
Conceptual decision-makers are big-picture thinkers who look at things with a wide viewpoint. They look for patterns, and they want to know what the future looks like. Long-term planning is innate to this type of thinking. However, unknowns always can change the projected outcome, and this type of decision maker needs to be comfortable knowing that creativity and agility always will be part of the business plan.
Behavioral decision-making is the most team-oriented of all four types because it considers the opinion of all team members. The goal of this approach is to gain consensus and harmony within the entire group. Compared to conceptual decision-making, creativity is not part of the process. Instead, the team is given a set group of proven options and they discuss the pros and cons of each in the context of the current business environment. As with analytic decision-making, the process can go on for far longer than benefits the organization, so the leader needs to proactively guide the team to a decision.
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