By Bob Morrell on August 11, 2023

As you rise up the ladder of your career, there comes a point when you stop contributing to the results that inform decisions and start to actually make those decisions yourself.

At differing levels of management, you become more responsible for departmental budgets, get given a monetary ‘sign-off’ for amounts of money that you can legitimately spend. For low amounts – say, up to £1000 – there still needs to be a level of confidence to make that choice, to spend the money on things that you, as a manager, deem valuable.

Experience helps us understand what the key important things are to invest in. Then, as we reach new points of responsibility a huge range of decision-making options suddenly appear: 

  1. Committee – we take part in a process of creating a group of stakeholders of varying levels, who assess options and reach a consensus which results in a decision. 
  2. We work with a fellow manager of the same or similar level, and we reach a joint decision. 
  3. We make decisions based on personal reasons rather than commercially bound reasons. 
  4. We allocate decisions to an underling who does all the research, then we defer the decision for a year. 
  5. We make commercial buying decisions safe in the knowledge that our procurement department will do the actual negotiation. 
  6. We make decisions we feel sure are correct and we expect our organisation to back us up and make the necessary arrangements to respond to our considered request. (These decisions are more often right for the organisation but hard for it to manage – they much prefer option number 4 or 5.) 
  7. The catch-up decisions, where the lack of decision-making in the previous 18 months means a massive choice is made in order to catch-up. This type of decision, in the current uncertain climate, is more and more common. 

Whatever your style or system, decision-making is essential. In the end, you need to do something, even if it’s a mistake. Hiring the wrong person, using the wrong supplier, or buying the wrong product, all of these will give you a learning point to improve your decision-making from.

Our new podcast, Decision-Making, discusses this really essential business skill – click here to listen: or subscribe to Bob & Jeremy’s Conflab on your favourite podcast platform and download the latest episodes today.

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