One of the most important competencies a leader will ever develop is the ability to use analysis skills prior to making key decisions. There is a true art and science to this important component of leadership. As a leader, your legacy will be built on the decisions you make on a consistent basis. Let's examine why this is so important.
The owner of a business has placed tremendous trust in his or her leaders to be great stewards of corporate resources. These assets are essential to the ongoing success of any business regardless of the current size or scope. This is why it is so essential that you work on refining your ability to use your analysis skills to ensure you make great decisions.
A Look at the Resources
Your list may include all or some of these resources. The key is to take great care with these assets. In fact, it's your responsibility to protect and, in many cases, grow the assets.
- People: your team members
- Customers: the people who write your team's checks monthly
- Inventory: the products you must sell
- Capital: the money you must manage through expense control and revenue creation
- Brand: the face you present to the world that tells people who you are, what you do, and why they should choose your organization
- Culture: the asset that determines the direction and mission of your organization
- Intellectual Property: a proprietary asset that establishes your value in many cases
- Social Media: your marketing approach and digital distribution center that drives market awareness and generates new leads for your organization
- Advertising and Marketing: in many cases large ticket expense item that can either grow your business and profit or drive up expenses without result
- Leads: the lifeblood of any organization; they must be treated as golden opportunities because they are exactly that to an organization
- Reputation: you must protect and build on your organization's reputation in order to build a well-respected and sustainable business model
The key is to focus on becoming an effective decision maker. When you display the ability to consistently make great decisions, your value to the organization grows exponentially. As the owner's confidence in your decision-making competency grows, your promotion opportunities will grow as well.
The 4 Keys
- Always slow down in reference to big decisions so you can speed up the long-term result of your ultimate decisions. There is a definite balance between urgency and patience that is required to be effective in how you analyze key decisions.
- Turn the situation into a powerful and compelling question that forces you to seek out facts and gather information prior to reaching a final decision. I promise better questions will always lead to betters answers, and better answers lead to far superior decisions.
- Seek out input from key stakeholders who will be affected by the decision. Host "ideation" sessions to work collaboratively with others to collect as many ideas as possible. The quantity and quality of ideas are of equal importance.
- Work all the ideas you receive that you have confidence in for both benefit and concerns. Question each selected idea up in order to determine the true value and potential of the idea.
When you arrive at a final decision, you must run a resource allocation test on the idea. Sometimes a great idea is a bad idea if you don't possess the capacity or resources to successfully execute the plan for implementation. You must also check the buy in and belief in the idea of those required to implement the plan. To move forward without testing your idea is to risk the resources you have been entrusted with, and that should be avoided.
There is a simple formula for testing your idea. It will work if properly executed. It is based on this simple statement:
Who must do What (specifically) by When (specifically)? How must they do what they are required to do (specifically), and Why must they do what they are required to do (specifically)?
If you can't clearly define your Whats, Whens, Hows, and Whys, your plan has zero chance of sustainability. A plan improperly executed will not stand the test of your real business environment. Run the test so you have a clear picture of the requirements.
When you arrive at this point, you must then analyze all the actual cost of implementation. How many people will be involved? How much time will we need to invest? What will we need to purchase to implement the plan, and what are the costs? What training will be required prior to implementation? Who will be involved in this process? What is the actual cost from a human resource perspective? How much time will be involved?
Once you have finished the initiatives above, you need to create a formalized plan accompanied by a line item budget. Seek budget approval, and make certain everyone is in complete agreement with all the details.
- Total Expense Outlay
- Human Capital Investment
- Required Executables
- Measurement Criteria
- Touch Points to Gauge Progress
- Expected Results
In closing, this will not apply to every single decision you make over the course of your career. There will always be room and a need for the "gut instinct" decision. Some decisions are so clear that they need to be made in real time. However, for the major decisions that require careful thought and consideration, this process will help you immensely.
Defining Analysis Skills
How would you define this process as it applies to your current role?
On a scale of 1-10, how high would you rank this skill as it relates to your career?
If you had to choose one of the five words below to most accurately reflect your actual level of proficiency as it relates to analysis skills, which word would you select?
These questions are designed to help shape your reality as to the importance of this competency. Good luck as you move forward in your career with learning to be world-class at analyzing prior to deciding.
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Copyright 2017: Paul Cummings Enterprises.
About the author: For over 30 years, Paul Cummings has taught dynamic life changing strategies on sales, customer service, communication, building a better business, and leadership. Millions have had the opportunity to learn what it means to live and work at Level 10.