Is leadership about making the right decisions or making fast decisions? The easy answer is that it is a blend of both. But it is really difficult to find leaders who portray both these abilities. I have contemplated over this for a little while now and although I appreciate quick decision making, my experience leads me to believe that quick decisions are often made on limited and convenient data sets. Hence I question the credibility of the decisions that come out of such a process.
The right decision making on the other hands can be frustrating for the folks who are waiting for the decision to be made. And some times while you are waiting to collect the complete data set to make the decision, the context changes or the problem that needed that decision modifies itself and hence your data set does not remain relevant any more. But in the long run, a well contemplated decision has less chances of firing back.
The fast decision makers are often gregarious, aggressive and bold. I like to call them empire builders. They believe in act and conquer and move on. The right decision makers on the other hand are patient and more poised. They are bold yet at the same time more humane. Personally, my radar is very sensitive to this differentiation. I instantly develop a preference towards the right decision makers and bring up a wall of caution against the quick decision makers. I take this distinction quite seriously and have observed my undying loyalty towards the right guy instead of the fast guy. In fact if I did not find enough right guys in the ecosystem I have chosen to quit the system and start afresh. I am at a point in my career where I need to pick my style and run with it. If only it was easy to choose.
On a more balanced note, I feel each situation calls for a different skill. Some decisions are best taken fast, at an impulse. And some demand analysis and contemplation.
I am decently skilled at taking fast action when needed and move things forward. I favor momentum over contemplation when it comes to trying out options to get things done. But what I need some help with is to fine tune the machinery of my decision making process as I pick my actions.
I try to chase any given problem from different ends and triangulate on it for some time before I call it done. The triangulation approach is my method of waiting it out. But when I have dependencies on others, that are not being met in due time, I get restless and chose to simply act since I don’t have the tools or data points needed to triangulate from their perspective. This results in the war between agility and accuracy. And it is this war that results in a certain restlessness (read impatience) that needs to be addressed.
As we move on with life, we will need to make decisions in tandem with others, and hence this impatience is a growing concern for me.
As I wind down in preparation for a new phase in life, and reflect on the recent innings of my career I will continue to record my observations on such topics. Life has given me a few moments to pause, and before I take the next exit back on to the freeway, I want to grow myself and prepare for the second innings.
Bear with me..