Making Better Decisions
If you took a team of smart, capable people out to the wilderness and showed them an ox, could they accurately estimate the weight of that ox?
Working by themselves, ask each person to write down the weight they believe the ox to be, then seal it in an envelope. Collect the envelopes. As you start opening the envelopes, you’d find the guesses would be all over the place. Some too low, some too high.
But if you ask the same group to work as a team, they could share experiences and learning to come to a much better answer for the weight of the ox.
The same principle holds true with solving big problems at work. Any member of your team working alone can come to an answer. But is that answer the best it could be?
The Back Story for Business
I was told this story the first time by an investment advisor. He shared that his colleagues routinely gathered to analyze and explore optimum solutions for asset management of key accounts they held.
It was reassuring to know that the collective wisdom of his team was being used to make better choices and create the best possible advice for stakeholders.
Leaders need to open themselves up for similar group activities. While you might be the owner or CEO of your respective company, you can still leverage the wisdom of others to help you make better, more informed decisions.
Ways to Help You Make Better Decisions
Here are some simple ways to get it done.
First, if you are truly alone at the top, you need an outside resource to help. A trusted advisor whether personal or professional can be that ear to hear what you are thinking. You can use them as a sounding board.
A trusted advisor can be there for you to explore options, vet decisions, and suggest other things to consider before making a final decision.
Or you might pursue a peer advisory group. In “Think and Grow Rich”, Napolean Hill introduced the idea of Mastermind Groups. This is a gathering of like-minded individuals to come together and share experiences, ideas, and wisdom so as to help others grow.
Another idea is to turn things over to your own leadership team. Depending on the size of your organization, you may have access to a team of direct reports who could be that group to review the details and evaluate ideas.
A Caution on ‘Group Think’
Allowing a group to do anything can have its risks. But with proper guidance and collaboration, leveraging the combined expertise of a workgroup can pay dividends.
When teams have not been built around solid core principles for trust and collaboration, then ‘group think’ can go wrong. If team members are uncertain of their standing in the group or people feel alienated, then they might ‘go along’ with the dominant voice at the table rather than speak their mind.
If that happens, you as a leader have a much bigger problem. It is for this reason I have been using the Team Trust Model.
The Team Trust Model explains six key steps for every team to use to build TRUST. Teams who operate with high levels of trust can achieve much greater results than those operating without trust. More on that here.
If you’ve never considered having an outside advisor to help you through your decision-making process, now may be the time to ask.