The principle function of leadership is making decisions. Whether you own a business or direct the work of others, your employees come to you with issues they can’t solve themselves.
There are two types of decisions. One is easy; you just know something that others don’t. It may be the history of an account, or which approach has proven most effective in the past. You understand exactly why a particular option is desirable, and communicate the correct answer to someone who doesn’t (yet) know it.
The second type of decision is more difficult. The problem is new, or presents a twist that makes a solution less obvious. There is risk involved. The wrong approach may cost time, money, or impact a customer relationship. Often it is a combination of all three. Choosing an answer requires balancing factors, prioritizing desired outcomes, and thinking through various potential side effects.
These are leadership decisions. They are based on gestalt, something that is made up of many parts, but is more than just the sum of the factors. You choose to waive a shipping minimum for a loyal customer, or fill a backorder through a competitor to complete an invoice. You may make a different call in different cases, based on slight variations in the factors that aren’t obvious to everyone else.
These gestalt decisions can only be made by you. It’s why you are in the first seat on the bus. To you, they may seem as instinctive and no more difficult than routine technical or process-driven choices, but a lack of clear guidelines make them a unsolvable mystery to others.
Owners and executives ask “Why can’t my employees think like me?” For decisions based on your technical or historical knowledge, the answer is straightforward. Stop taking the easy way out (just making the decision because it’s quicker and simpler that way) and concentrate on downloading your knowledge so others have the information they need to make routine choices without you.
More complex calls; those that require having a bigger picture, seeing into the future, assessing and accepting risks, and bending the rules, are the reason you are there. That’s why we are Hunters.
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