Leader’s view: Make fewer decisions and become a better leader

If you are wondering how much power you have in the company you lead, ask yourself how many decisions you make.

The more powerful you are, the fewer decisions fall to you. The ones that you handle are the really big, really important ones.

It’s the reason that leaders read widely, network and, if they are wise, give themselves time to reflect: if you are making just a few decisions, they had better be the right ones.

Leading companies are ahead of new trends, technology shifts and consumer desires because their leaders are dedicated to the task – not caught up in the day-to-day machinations of doing business. They are in their offices, staring out the window deep in thought; they are meeting with colleagues and mentors; they are deeply immersed in reading about society at the macro and micro level.

With such a big brief, leading companies deal with the immensity of the task efficiently. Those at their helm have common strategies:

  • Appoint a team above and below that are also efficient decision-makers. Reports that are brilliant at the operational side of the business; directors who are superb thinkers and experienced strategists.
  • Establish a small network of high-value contacts. Most people think the bigger the network is, the more valuable it is to them. Harvard Business Review’s extensive data about networks challenges that view. (The 80:20 rule applies to networks too: you probably already have just a few people who provide valuable personal and professional support, while the others perhaps get more from you than they give.) Getting strategic about a network — who is in it for personal, operational and strategic reasons – turns out to be a really effective way of garnering a lot of information in a realistic time frame.
  • Read selectively. Read some sources for depth and others for breadth. Few publications – whether online and in print – do both well.
  • Consciously reduce the number of decisions made each day.

The best leaders are decisive. The brilliant leaders are decisive only on the issues that matter.


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