As we have seen this year, it is vital to understand how to make decisions, particularly during uncertainty. At a time of tremendous upheaval, nonprofits and businesses had to get creative. For example, to attract clients, smaller companies invested funds in CSR for social good. Nonprofits have sought to upgrade their abilities to ensure fundraising, like learning about social media ads. And, many executive directors have worked on developing their leadership abilities at this time.
Also, smart leaders know that flexibility is essential in this environment. And making decisions fast is, at times, vital for progress. As an example, countless executive directors at nonprofits decided to suspend fundraising galas and events. If you are the leader of an organization, you have a particular duty to master it. A number of us are fast at decision making. Others take time to mull things through for just a little while. We are people, and various individuals have different ways of making decisions. However, in my experience, I have found you could make the best decision in the shortest period without getting stuck at the paralysis of analysis.
Get Decision-Making Down to the Essentials
Winnow your options to the fundamentals. When you are going through big decisions, it is simple to be awash in several choices. Sure, keeping options open is a good thing, but just for a brief time. At some point, you will want to start to lessen your possibilities, leading to a decision. If you’re confused about what route you would like to take, you probably have too many options on the table. It is like walking into an enormous warehouse where you have too many selections, and you walk from the store with nothing.
Make Sure to Rely on the Data
Start ridding yourself of options that do not make any sense. Follow your gut, but also the data. In short, in today’s data-driven world, relying on data for decision-making is vital. Moreover, even if you believe you should go down one course of action, but the data indicates another, you have to rely on the data. Put simply; you want to make each decision on unbiased information, then trust your gut. In the past, decisions occurred based on experience. However, in the digital world, data comes first. Nonprofit leaders have to get used to making sure that information informs every decision.
Dreams Die with Indecision
Get practiced in relying upon the information and trusting that it is steering you in the right direction. And realize that billions of thoughts and dreams litter the landscape of the world. Many of those “great ideas” died because of indecision. So, remember that unending hesitation is an idea and a dream killer. For example, many nonprofits have made critical decisions on fundraising, staffing, and services. Make the best decision you can with the information you have at hand, and then keep on rebuilding and improving. But, the worst thing you could do is not make any decision for fear of making the wrong one.
Practice Makes Decision-Making Perfect
Finally, making decisions on an ongoing basis is the best way to master it. A great way to improve your decision-making skills is to practice it. Do it in small ways, such as deciding for things around your home (e.g., choosing a dinner spot). At the office, ask others’ opinions, inform yourself with the data, and then take the top 2-3 ideas and prioritize them. The more you decide on things, the better and more certain you will become, and the more you will grow and expand your organization as an executive director.
© 2020 Wayne Elsey and Not Your Father’s Charity. All Rights Reserved.