How to make excellent decisions under pressure

We had a strategy, we assembled a great team of folks who had been successful in their prior jobs, we met on a regular basis, we used a bunch of co-working tools to foster collaboration…but we still couldn’t seem to make excellent, impactful decisions! Sound familiar? It’s hard to make excellent decisions under pressure.

We’ve been conditioned to think that make decisions is easy; after all, we make  hundreds of decisions each day.  But what we forget is that most of those are subconscious, requiring little or no functional brain power.

Making a real decision, one which affects money, people and other large-scale problems, is hard.

So, what can you do to make it easier?  The first thing we recommend is to use a framework.  Frameworks are simply a standardized method to guide you through the process of making the decision.  There are numerous advantages that flow from frameworks, but the best, we think, is that it eliminates the bickering about how you and the group are going to go about the task of decision making.  Everyone will assume that you have put hours of research into designing the process.  Well done, you!

We’ve developed a simple framework, in the form of a checklist, to help you.  Essentially you need to address five areas to make great decisions:

  1. Context
  2. Problem/Decision Definition
  3. Developing the Solution
  4. Validating with Stakeholders
  5. Making Your Plan

If you address these areas, and there are a number of questions to challenge your team in each of them, you will develop better understanding and make great decisions for you and you business.

​Please contact us for a free introductory conversation.  It may be the best decision you’ll make all day.

What happens when your change methods seem like madness?

Change is hard, especially in organizations, and many people don’t want it, or at least they don’t want the discomfort that often seems to accompany it. If you’re brought in to be an agent for change, there are typically two paths that will get you there – evolution (which feels cumbersome and slow) or revolution (which is frequently accompanied by destruction, creative or otherwise, pain, and even some suffering).

If you are in a hurry to make things happen, one cause of pain is  having the right intention, but taking action in a way that makes that action seem more sinister than necessary. How do you remove a Band-Aid? Ripping it off can be hurtful and unsettling, but taking time to prepare the team (“this might sting a little, but it’s going to heal better once we put a fresh dressing on there”) lets them in on your thinking a little, and allows them to focus on the outcome, not just the action. On the other hand, telling them everything will be painless and then making the change with a “rrrrrip!” creates distrust, confusion, and fear. Fear and confusion breed questions like:
  • Don’t they care about our feelings?
  • I didn’t see that coming! Were they being truthful when they said I didn’t have to worry?
  • If change can just happen no matter what the circumstances…what if I’m next?

As a changemaker, your instincts may tell you to get things done quickly so your initiatives don’t stall; that’s valid. Taking a little extra time to set the stage and “p-reinforce” the benefits, though, will help you fix the situation without leaving any scars.

5 Tips to Shut Down the Meeting Room Bully

Stop Bullying Now
​Have you ever been in a meeting, where one person takes over the agenda, commandeers the conversation, and virtually sucks the energy and oxygen out of the room? Sometimes you can be so taken aback, that you don’t even know how to fight. Here are some tips that may come in handy:

  1.  Stare them down. Just like when a two-year-old is throwing a tantrum. Sometimes if everyone simply stops and silently waits, the lack of attention will cut their tirade off at the knees.
  2. Circle the wagons. If they have decided to target an individual and are in attack mode, ignore the bully, but address as many supportive comments as you can to the targeted person.
  3. Keep your buts to yourself. “But” is a signal that you’re not listening, just waiting to interject. It is the same tactic the bully may use. Instead, try “I hear you, and I also think…” 
  4. Take another way home. Sometimes you can’t shut the bully down, but you can work around them and isolate the path to your goal from their negative influence. Eventually they will get the message, or sulk off to their own corner.
  5. The last one, we credit to Megann’s grandfather. Don’t start a fight,  but if they do, stand up for yourself and fight to win. Then walk away.

If you have some boardroom bullies, some negative nitwits, or scared smarties in your office, you may also enlist the help of a professional facilitator. We’d be happy to help.

I’m Megann Willson, and together with my Partner, Steve Willson, we’re PANOPTIKA. We work with our clients to see everthing they need to know (and nothing extraneous) about their customers so they can grow their businesses and make more money. You can find us here, or if you like the blog but forget to check in, you can subscribe. You can also find us on Twitter, or Facebook, or LinkedIn. Did you find this useful? We’d be grateful if you’