The Effective Executive – How to Make Good Executive Decisions

Veteran, new and aspiring executives need methods to be successful in their organization. There are 1000s of leadership podcasts, videos, blogs, and articles but few authors address what to do or how to do it.

We have witnessed many executives who are efficient (doing things right), but few executives are effective (doing the right things). We believe this is misguided and aim to remedy the shortfall with executives.

This is the 8th episode of the Effective Executive podcast. In this episode, Tripp will discuss how to make good executive decisions. Download our FREE Effective Executive Starter Kit.

Show Notes

The Effective Executive – Episode 8

1. Synthetic Thinking

2. Don’t Copy

3. Have Options

4. Seek the Devil’s Advocate

5. Understand Decisions are Made Emotionally

6. Leave Decisions to Where the Knowledge is

7. Don’t Wait for the Perfect Decision

8. Don’t Blow Up Your Organization

9. Track Decisions with Measures



Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:00] Hi, I’m Tripp Babbitt, and this week in The Effective Executive, I want to talk about how to make good executive decisions and I’m working on this module for my executive education program. And so I pulled out a few things here that I think would help everyone in making good decisions.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:00:23] So starting out, the first thing is leveraging your synthetic thinking. So obviously, this is a large part to me, a very foundational piece of an executive education program is and I’ve covered it in other videos and analytic versus synthetic thinking. But this is all about doing the right things and developing that system. Map helps you identify and set priorities of what to work on in your organization. It will identify some problems and some opportunities within your organization. Now, it doesn’t cover everything. And I want to kind of make a caveat here about innovation is I believe that that’s something every organization should be working on, new product services, thinking in their organization. You’re not going to get a lot of that from the customer. So doing the right things is enhanced by synthetic thinking and development of that system. Map helps you as an executive develop that synthetic part of our brain, looking at the whole system as opposed to breaking down the pieces with analytical thinking.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:01:41] The second thing is you don’t want to copy another company. Now, there are some caveats to that, too, but copying a competitor will almost always leave you behind. And if you understand anything about synthetic thinking, all systems are different and in a variety of ways. And I would say that if you are going to copy, make it better, your original that a competitor did. And you do that through some of the other things we’ll talk about and making good executive decisions.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:02:21] The third thing, have options that are more than just a binary choice. Typically, when I walk into organizations, what they have is I’m going to consider this decision or I’m not. It’s kind of a I’m going to do this or I’m not going to do this. And one of the things that you want to do is you want to have lots of choices in things. And when you have a binary choice, you’re when you’re going out and doing research on it, you’re typically looking for I research that supports either to do it or not to do it,


Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:00] Which kind of leads to the next thing is once you have an abundance of choices, seek the devil’s advocate, seek someone who is going to look at that decision and say, jeez, you know, that’s that’s not you’re not considering this piece or this piece. And a lot of times executives kind of get stuck in the mode of one, the decision maker. Therefore, I must make the decision and not seek out opinions that are counter to what you’re thinking may be at that moment.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:34] The fifth thing is understand that decisions are made emotionally. I mean, we’ve heard this over and over again, and it’s just the human existence is being emotional about things and, you know, whether it’s getting frustrated and finally saying, well, let’s just make a decision.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:03:54] Just be aware that almost all decisions are made emotionally. And I think that this is a reason why you have to have a method for decision making. And why I’m putting this in executive education program is to avoid you’re not going to completely avoid it because it’s it’s part of you. But to help mitigate your emotional thinking on things and that you’re looking at things as practically as possible.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:04:21] A sixth thing, leave decisions to where the knowledge is, so oftentimes I’ll see executives making these broad decisions without input from people who have the knowledge and typically or they make the mistake of assuming that the IT department knows better about customer interactions than the front line people because they’re paid more. Therefore, they they must have the knowledge of what they don’t. The people on the front line. If you’re going to make decisions about their work, they should really be the ones making that decision and feeding you back information, you know, in association with it. They know better than anyone else whether something’s working or not working or any of those types of things.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:05:15] So the seven thing is, don’t wait for the perfect decision. Now, you said get a lot of choices down. There is no such thing as perfect decision. I see too many companies, too many organizations go out there and they make a decision and we’re going to go ahead and we’re going to go down that path.


[00:05:36] And anything, any criticisms of it or whatever are knocked out of the way. Those people are just not on board wrong. People are very on board and they want the company to be successful. So you’ve got to prepare yourself when you make a decision to prepare to scrap it or refine it and just kind of make a decision. And moving on from there is a horrible idea. I’ve I see this so often executives have a tendency to make that decision and move on to something else and not track what’s going on with the previous decision. And meanwhile, meanwhile, you’ve got a whole group of employees that are seeing things fall apart and saying, well, that was not a very good decision. That can provide you some very useful feedback and to, you know, refine it, scrap it, whatever you need to do, but follow through on when you make a decision and whether it’s it’s good or bad. Now, if you remember one of the biggest problems you have and this is, you know, analysis, paralysis type of mindset,


Tripp Babbitt: [00:06:43] But executives back in the fourth episode of the The Effective Executive, I talked about one thing executives fear and that’s risk. And so you can overdo things. And I think this is where you need to get to, not getting to a perfect decision, but a place to start someplace where you can say, OK, we’re going to make a decision on this, but we’re going to prepare ourselves to scrap or refine it. And that way the risk factor kind of goes away a little bit.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:07:18] Now, one thing that can help this is this eight thing, which is don’t blow up your whole organization if you don’t have to. If you’re going to make a decision about something often you can make it on a very small scale. It can be made, you know, only affecting a small group of customers. You can tell them exactly what you’re doing, you know, get input back on it, on those decisions. Now, sometimes you have to to to you know, it’s either do it or don’t do it based upon a number of different factors that where you just got to make a decision that’s going to affect the entire organization, but not very often. Usually there’s an opportunity to try things out on a small scale to see how they work. So take advantage of that and then also mitigate some of the risk that people are afraid of.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:08:09] The ninth thing is track your decision with measurements and usually there’s some big picture measures, but there’s also a whole slew of smaller measures that you could potentially use in an executive education program.


Tripp Babbitt: [00:08:26] I actually give lots of examples of these things. Along with that, I’m going to talk about one of the tools that is missing when we look at these measures, especially over time. And that is something called a control chart. And if you as an executive do not understand how to use a control chart, a statistical control chart or statistical process control or process beaver charts, they have a whole slew of names. You need to learn that because it’s a way to analyze the data, to tell you whether things are getting better or not. And it’s just not whether it went up or down, you know, in one week or one day. It’s how it does over a period of time and whether it’s really having an impact positively or negatively of that decision. And so a control chart to me should be a fundamental tool that every executive uses. So those are nine things to think about while or to help you make good or even maybe great decisions or executive decisions in your organization. So that’s what I wanted to cover this week. Thanks. And we’ll talk again next Monday.

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