Do you make decisions or suggestions?

Decisions or Suggestions ID-100329413

I once had a request from a client to help improve their team’s “speed to “market”. This team was amazing at developing great ideas. In fact, they enjoyed having brainstorming meetings; they would talk for hours about what to do next and make lots of suggestions and plans for next steps.

The V.P. of this company grew frustrated with the amount of time this team was spending on planning and the lack of progress being made towards the completion of their projects. They were told to pick up their pace, produce results, or the team would be dissolved and the special assignments would go to another team who could complete the projects on time and on budget.

This team suffered from what I call a “suggestions state”. This is a condition high-performing teams are able to avoid, and if they should find themselves suffering from it, they know, from experience, how to pick-up the pace, and get themselves out of this unproductive state.  Being stuck in this state results in lots of suggestion being made and lots of vacillation, with no one person taking significant actions towards reaching the end goal.

Organizations often believe they have great decision-making practices in place but in fact, what they have is actually a suggestion-making process (big difference), which ends up wasting a tremendous amount of time and resources. Teams and organizations that are innovative and get things done have the ability to make great decisions.

So how do you start to build a culture of decision-makers? Here are a few strategies that will help you get started.

Give Autonomy

Giving people the power to make decisions and allowing them to be accountable for those decisions is the foundation of creating autonomy within an organization. People and teams need the ability and clearance within an organization to make real decisions in real-time. Without autonomy, organizations set themselves up for teams that make great suggestions, with very little action and accountability.

Supply Resources

Giving people the ability to make decisions also requires adequate resources to get things done. This could be in the form of time, budget, and skills. For those who lack resources, giving people the autonomy to source the necessary resources required is also required. I am always amazed, but not surprised, at the resources people can find on their own in a resource-lacking culture when they are given autonomy.

Ability to fail

Some organizations suffer from “what if?” thinking. What if this happens? What if that happens? I am sure everyone has experienced this at some time in their career. To overcome this, and handle the “what if?” thinking phenomenon, is being prepared to make good decisions. If you allow yourself to get stuck in a “what if?” thinking pattern, then nice suggestions will be the only thing you can hope to achieve.

All the best in achieving your highest performance. 


Image courtesy of pakorn at