Tips on Making Hard Decisions


Last week, I talked here about how it could be costly to defer hard decisions.

I can honestly say that the higher I have progressed in an organization that the harder the decisions have been. But that’s part of your role as a leader. Here are a few hard decisions I’ve had to navigate and some tips on making them.

To Spend or not to Spend – Some people’s financial management philosophy is easy: just don’t spend money. But when you’re responsible for a team or organization, spending money in some categories is an investment in your future. Wise spending can help propel you toward your values and encourage positive organizational momentum. Good questions to ask yourself here:

  1. Are you investing in a tangible asset that will survive 12 or more months and benefit yourself and other members of your team?
  2. Are you providing resources that will help members of your team be more effective or more efficient in their roles? (Training, technology, and administrative support are all valuable ways to resource a highly functioning team member. PS. You are a member of your team so this applies to you also.)
  3. Are you providing for the maintenance of a tangible asset to increase it’s life for 12 or more months beyond what it would be without the maintenance?
To Hire or not to Hire – Proverbs tells us it is foolish to hire “any passerby” and unfortunately, we are sometimes desperate enough for help to come close. Here are a few questions to help you in the hiring process:
  1. Does this person have the skills and competencies that are critical to the position?
  2. Does this person have solid character? (You can’t get this in an interview alone. Contact references.)
  3. Will this person be a good fit for the culture of my organization?
  4. Does this person have the capacity for where I hope to be going with our team in the next season?
To Fire or not to Fire – This is by far one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make as a manager and leader. But it can also be one of the most costly decisions to delay when it needs to be made. When a fire was necessary, I have always worked hard to help the person find an off ramp that will enable them to prosper upon leaving us. But I usually waited far beyond when it was ideal and cost myself extra energy or team morale in the process. As an aside, you should never resort to a fire until you have made attempts to address weaknesses through training, better management or accountability.¬†Good questions to ask yourself to evaluate whether a fire is necessary:
  1. Would you hire this person again, if they were interviewing today for the role? Consider the “To Hire or not to Hire” questions above.
  2. Is this person keeping other team members from performing to their potential?
  3. Will this person be better off?
Now, like I said last week, delaying the decision is costly. Take the time to consider the details, pray for guidance and then make the decision.

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