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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.

Jerry Parker
"Vista has been a consultant to our firm for almost 2 years. One of the best business decisions I made was to retain Vista. They know plaintiff personal injury firms A-Z. And that's how they analyze your firm, its efficiencies (or lack thereof or worse), office design/flow, reception procedures, telephone procedures, equipment of all types, etc. If you think your office is running at the top of its game and you don't need them, you're probably wrong. I can't imagine Vista not being able to improve even the best run firms. The payback from what they do is likely to be realized within the 1st 3-6 months."
- Jerry Parker
Paul B. Harding
"As our firm grew, it became difficult to track the progress of cases through the various units, along with the customer service provided to our clients. VISTA developed dashboards for all this and more! When viewing our dashboard, I now have all the important data at my fingertips: client contact, file review, the number of demands filed, files placed in suit, and so much more! Our unit managers also use these tools to ensure that attorneys and staff are staying on-track. As Managing Partner, I am pulled in many directions at once and am often out of the office — the dashboard allows me to zero in on issues as they develop, regardless of my location or the time of day. Great solution for us!"
- Paul B. Harding / Managing Partner
Jim Reed
"I have to confess, I was initially skeptical that Vista could significantly improve my firm. Heck, we are a small firm (4 lawyers) in a small city and have been in business for 60+ years. Frankly, we were already doing well and had managed to carve out a successful business handling personal injury and malpractice cases. But I met (and liked) Tim McKey and we were having a good year, so I thought, let’s give them a try to see if they can offer any meaningful improvement. I am happily surprised to say that hiring Vista is one of the best business decisions I ever made. Vista analyzed and made recommendations in a few key areas and helped us implement changes in those areas. In less that one year, we are already reaping substantial dividends from those simple changes. As lawyers, we think we are pretty smart and know our business pretty well, but I can tell you that inviting an outside set of experienced eyes to take a close look at the way your firm operates WILL reveal many things you never saw and many areas for improvement. If you want to REALLY learn about your firm and how to improve it, I HIGHLY recommend a consultation with Vista."
- Jim Reed / Owner