The Art of Making Decisions
March 21, 2011 Leave a comment
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Over my career I have been involved with thousands of projects that required immediate and often critical decisions that impacted entire teams. However, it wasn’t until I was looking for my replacement where I dished out a piece of advice. Sometimes the best decision is the one that isn’t made. It is in our basic human instinct to want to help others and get involved in situations where we think we can contribute. But often that can lead you to being exposed and potentially the owner of an issue you didn’t create. The hardest decision to make will likely be to have faith in those to resolve the situation on their own.
I first noticed this years ago when I began building out a social community strategy for our company. I dealt with many of the same obstacles that are still faced today from those who said: “what is someone says something bad about us?” and my response was “they likely already are and we just don’t know it.” Anytime you build a community discussion forum you will always run into “That Guy”. “That Guy” is the person who drinks too much at a wedding and makes an ass out of them self and everyone whispers “who is that guy?” What I found is when “That Guy” comes to your site and starts stirring up trouble your human nature wants to jump in and stop the train wreck from happening. However, in the social world, a much different scenario actually plays out in a couple of different ways. Either your peers will jump in to help, or “that guy” will wake up the next day with a hangover and apologize to everyone. Either way, the crisis was averted without making a decision to get involved. In the world of online conversations, trying to argue or correct even the most outlandish statements only perpetuates the conversation. That perpetuation only encourages others to add their opinion making it the most visited and commented article, which then ranks highest within search rankings which leads to more to join the conversation. The best advice I can give and the hardest decision to make is not to make a decision, let the conversation die and let “That Guy” wake up with the hangover the next day.
Now granted, there are times when decisions need to be made and others may depend on you to make the call so they can continue about their day. Those who have a hard time making decisions are often more concerned with what others will think and or afraid of making the wrong decision. Again, it is part of our human nature to want to appease the public and get consensus on what is popular but sometimes that adds to the difficulty of making the decision. Just because a decision is popular doesn’t mean that it is right. The fact is even a wrong decision is a decision and is always better than not making one ,when one is required. Don’t be afraid to make a decision when others expect you to because even if it is wrong they will respect the fact that you had the courage to do it in the first place. And if you ever do find yourself in that position, much like “That Guy”, admit to your mistake, apologize to those it affected, take ownership of the issue and move on.
What the hardest decision you have had to make?