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Let Your Team Exercise Their Decision Making Muscle

January 19, 2017
Let Your Team Exercise Their Decision Making Muscle - blog post image

When you make a decision, you are exercising your “decision making” muscle. The more you do it, the stronger it gets and the more confidence you gain in your ability to make decisions.  You can feel this happening, after you make a tough decision, other decisions often seem much easier to make.  This is the same with your team.  When they exercise their decision making ability, they get stronger and better at making decisions in the future.  

Let your team make decisions on their own so that they can build their decision making muscles.  Here are some warning signs of a team that doesn’t have a lot of decision making muscle:

1. They present problems, not solutions.  If your team brings you problems without any recommendations, they probably need to work on their decision making muscle.  A team that either handles issues as they arise, or brings  you issues with proposed solutions, has confidence in their ability to make decisions.  The Ritz Carlton gives most of its employees up to $1,500 in decision making authority to make decisions that will improve the experience of their guests.  That is letting them exercise their decision making muscle.

2. They don't speak up in meetings.  When people are afraid of making decisions or in an environment that doesn't encourage making decisions, they are self-conscious about bringing forth solutions.  The next time you have a meeting, ask yourself how much participation are you getting from your team? Are you doing all the talking or is your team providing input and discussion. Does everyone always agree with your point of view, or do they feel comfortable in challenging your ideas? Organizations that support exercising the decision making muscle have engaged communication.  

3. There is a lot of “Monday Morning Quarterbacking”.  The term “Monday Morning Quarterbacking” refers to second guessing the decisions made by the quarterback in SUnday’s football game.  The quarterback had to make decisions in the heat of the moment, with the best information that was available at the time. It is often much easier to look back and second guess those decisions.  However, the organization that does so in a critical way will prevent its team from exercising its decision making muscle in the future.  Don’t second guess decisions, you may need to correct and make changes, but don’t go back and criticize the decision that was made in the heat of the moment. The time to challenge it is when the decision is being made, not after it has been made.  

4. Bottlenecks.  Bottlenecks often occur because there is a hold up in the decision making process.  If only a few people have the ability to make decisions, then all decision making “traffic” leads to them and it creates a bottleneck. Think of the projects that are lagging behind schedule, is it because it reached a decision making bottleneck? Most likely the answer is “yes”.   Identify those bottlenecks, and ask yourself what decisions did someone hold onto to keep those projects from moving?   

Support your team when they make decisions. Coach them through the process, gradually build up the responsibility you give them, but let them make decisions and don’t do it for them. It only weakens their ability to make decisions in the future and it hurts your organization.  If you want to grow, you need a team that is confident and capable of making good decisions on their own.

Kenny Harrell
“The Joye Law Firm would whole-heartedly recommend Vista Consulting’s services. It’s been nearly two years since Vista did the initial needs assessment at our firm, followed by several weeks of ‘boots on the ground’ work. With the benefit of hindsight, I can easily say that improvements we’ve made as the result of their services have easily more than paid for the costs of the same (and that was probably true a few months in.) This is true based on improvements in our case management efficiency and especially in regard to better intake procedures. Our average new cases per month have increased 50%, and this is due in large part on our doing a better job of following up on potential new clients.”
- Kenny Harrell / Managing Partner
Richard Harris
"After founding and managing one of Nevada’s largest personal injury law firms for over 30 years, and teaching law practice management, I didn’t think there was much a consultant could do for me. I initially asked Vista, “Why would I pay you to tell me what’s wrong with my firm – when I already know it?” Their response was, “We’ll help you fix it.” That had actually never occurred to me, which showed how much I needed them. Beginning with the onsite visit and comprehensive Needs Assessment, the Vista team not only helped fix what I already knew needed attention, I’m pleased to admit they revealed and helped us resolve several problem areas I previously didn’t know about. Not only that, through consistent coaching conferences and initiation of dynamic reporting of key performance indicators, Vista trained and transitioned a new management team to take our firm to the next level. I’m completely satisfied with Vista and recommend their services to any firm, large or small."
- Richard Harris
Wendy and David Share
“We met with Vista for a strategic planning session as our firm is at the crossroads and we wanted some outside perspective to help us with our planning. Vista provided a very focused environment so that we could develop our “Painted Picture” or 5-year plan. As we were very involved in the process, the conclusions we arrived at were not surprising to us, but having a road map to help us take the next step has been very beneficial to us. We have been working on the required steps and are making progress, and we do always come back to the Painted Picture and the principles we discussed in realizing our objectives. It is very much an ongoing process, and we know Vista is there for us, if and when we need their further input and objective perspective. Vista’s knowledge of the inner working of Plaintiff Personal Injury law firms allowed them to offer their insight and perspective to our unique circumstances. The fact that we are in Canada proved to be no barrier to understanding what our firm is all about.”
- Wendy and David Share