Tough Decisions For The CEO The Buck Stops Here!
“As a CEO, I make tough decisions every Sunday. Like choosing between a Coffee and Whiskey.” Pradeep Soundararajan
Oh how we wish our decisions were as simple as Mr. Soundararajan’s. Yes, we gotta believe that it was likely said firmly with tongue in cheek. But that doesn’t ignore the fact that as CEOs (and other chief business leaders) are making the tough calls all day long – and those decisions don’t involve beverages. “Decision is the spark that ignites action. Until a decision is made, nothing happens…. Decision is the courageous facing of issues, knowing that if they are not faced, problems will remain forever unanswered.” Wilfred A. Peterson “Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” Tony Robbins
“Every time you make the hard, correct decision you become a bit more courageous, and every time you make the easy, wrong decision you become a bit more cowardly. If you are CEO, these choices will lead to a courageous or cowardly company.” Ben Horowitz
- Saying No. If the answer is going to be no, then say no. Stop wasting time on this. Really, if it’s a no, say it and move on. Granted, it’s a hell of a lot easier to say “let me think about it” or just put it off in general. But if you already know you’re eventually going to say no, the smarter decision — as tough as it is — is to say no now. It saves a lot of grief for you and other people. So, let us reiterate, if the answer is no — just say no.
- Ask for Help. When you aren’t sure what to do next? Ask for help. Ask questions. You presumably have a rock star team – use them! Because as tough and as strange as it may seem, you actually add credibility to yourself as a leader. Remember, too that great leaders recognize that they are not masters of everything. They reach out to internal and external mentors and coaches. They will surround themselves with people who inspire them to learn and grow. And they are not afraid to ask for help.
- Challenge the sacred cows. Ah, yes, the no-go zones. Every leader knows that change is hard. And, changing the things people say can’t be touched are the toughest changes. ‘Sacred cows’ (aka the dreaded status quo) often persist because of the false perception that they keep people ‘in line’. And when you challenge assumptions, ‘givens’, especially if they haven’t been challenged for a while, it will often be only a matter of time before change (sometimes radical change or transformation) becomes obvious as a necessary path forward.