As a leader, you make decisions all the time. Unfortunately, decision-making can feel haphazard, where you second guess yourself and wonder if you’re doing the right thing. You can spend more energy on questioning your judgment than you do finishing the work (we’ve all done it, let’s laugh together)!
Coaching is a great way to help us make thoughtful decisions and take calculated risks. My clients often bring questions or concerns to their coaching sessions related to decision-making. Questions like: Am I providing what the client wants? Did I waste time working on this part of a project that no one asked for? How do I decide on what I focus my time or energy?
I believe there are several sets of guiderails that can help us keep focused so we self-manage more effectively and keep our clients happy.
Most of us have clients, whether internal or external to our company. One of the first ways we can add guiderails to our decision-making is to identify what’s important to our clients. Here’s a list of basic things that most clients want from us:
We are on time with the project or product.
We are responsive and answer their questions in an appropriate time frame.
We provide what they wanted (and what was spelled out in the agreement).
We offer perspective and are an authority regarding what they need.
The next step is to use these statements as guiderails or filters to identify what’s most important for us to work on tomorrow, this morning, or in this next fifteen minutes. The more we do this, the more we are “client-focused” and provide exceptional service to our people.
We can look at our calendars and projects, identifying deadlines and prioritizing from there. We reverse engineer the product so that we block out time in our schedules to get work completed so it meets the four criteria above.
When in doubt, ask yourself: What is the most important project I have and what tasks do I need to complete today? Then do them!
Stay curious friends!