It is hard to qualify what makes a good leader, but many people would agree that some of the most successful business heads are those who consistently make the right decisions. If one were to compile a list of the most successful executives in the world, it would likely be filled with people who were known to make the right decision at the perfect time to capitalize on shifts in market needs, advancements in technology and other key moments. Whether it was Henry Ford with the use of the production lane to mass manufacture cars or Steve Jobs with the roll out of one of most prolific portable music players, these guys always seem to know what to do, how to do it and when to do it.
However, as Harvard Business Review contributor Ed Batista noted, many people get fixated on the outcome when it comes to decision-making. They assume these companies and leaders are successful because when it is all said and done, they came up with the ideal product, service, process or concept that catapulted their companies into the driver's seat of their respective industries. As such, business leaders looking to replicate the success enjoyed by other businesses often get tied up trying to make the perfect decision every single time, which can be a time-consuming and nerve-wracking effort in and of itself.
Moreover, it often is not the decision-making process that decides whether businesses are successful, but leaders' ability to champion ideas and use their influence to see their proposals and plans through to conclusion. Many decisions will meet resistance along the road to implementation, particularly if they do not get off to a great start, but it is often the leader's responsibility to see these ideas through to fruition and stay on the path that they believe in. Knowing how to influence stakeholders is key. To that end, whether or not they make the right choice is inconsequential – what matters is their ability to get others onboard and keep them there until the idea has time to manifest in its fullest form.
Decision-making throughout the career
Leaders make decisions everyday of their lives, whether it involves launching a new product, deciding to leave for another job, hiring prospects or anything else. The key is not getting overly involved in picking the right choice, but instead putting effort into making the best out of the choice that has been selected.
"Our focus on making the 'right' decision can easily lead to paralysis, because the options we're choosing among are so difficult to rank in the first place," Batista added. "How can we definitively determine in advance what career path will be 'best,' or what job offer we should accept, or whether we should move across the country or stay put? Obviously, we can't. There are far too many variables."
This is why influence skills are so critical to success in the business world. They help leaders get people on board with them, which is pivotal in the long-term to getting people to follow through with decisions that have been made.