vpresize VICTORY Principles: Leadership Lessons from D-Day by Colonel Leonard Kloeber, Jr.


Archive for the ‘Timely Decisions’ Category

Great Leadership Depends on Great Decisions – Take AIME

without comments

All great leaders are defined by the quality of their decisions. Although leaders can delegate, postpone, or otherwise defer decisions, ultimately there are some things that only the leader can decide. As President Harry Truman famously said, “the buck stops here.” He realized that ultimately, he needed to take responsibility and make decisions on the critical issues facing the nation. Likewise, leaders of any organization must also make key decisions and take the responsibility for their outcomes. This philosophy may sound simple, but it doesn’t mean that it is easy. Often leaders must make decisions with scant information.  More often than not, there are no clear cut choices among several viable options, and the leader gets conflicting advice about which option to choose. So how can leaders make timely decisions and maximize their chances of making the “right” decision? They rely on a decision making model to help them. Consider the example of the AIME decision making model:

A: Assess the Situation. Whenever they are faced with a decision, leaders assess the situation. This can either be a quick “estimate of the situation” or a more detailed analysis depending on the amount of time available. Regardless, they always assess the situation by considering relevant facts that bear on the problem. Experienced leaders will know intuitively which facts to look at and quickly assess the situation. Experienced emergency room doctors do this all the time. While they seem to easily make quick decisions, in fact, they begin by assessing the patient’s condition by looking at the appropriate vital signs or test results. The reason that they can move quickly to a decision is because of their experience – they have likely seen a similar situation before that they can relate to their present situation.   Less experienced leaders (or doctors) will need to get help from trusted colleagues to make their assessment; nevertheless, they must begin the process by looking at the relevant facts.

I: Implement a simple plan. After gathering information to make their decision, the next move is to formulate a simple plan. To create their plan, they will likely consider their viable options. Normally there are no more than five options.   If there are more than five, it behooves the leader to quickly eliminate all but the most viable and get to the three best options. Once the options are identified, they compare the advantages and disadvantages of each of the options. If time permits, they sometimes do a deliberate analysis using a decision matrix whereby each option is evaluated against specific “decision criteria.”   They might have someone from their staff research the details for each option and present their findings in the form of a comparative analysis which may point to one option that is clearly superior to the others. However once the analysis is completed with whatever detail is permitted due to the time constraints, the leader must choose an option and make their decision.

M: Make it happen. Once the decision is made, then the leader must communicate it to the staff and make it happen. Many leaders assume that once the decision is made and communicated that it is carried out. Don’t assume that once the communication is made, that the decision will automatically get carried out! Even in military organizations where people are accustomed to follow orders, the decisions of senior commanders will not always be carried out as intended. It is up to the senior leader or decision maker to follow up with those who are charged with implementing the decision to see if it is being implemented as intended or if there is an unanticipated problem. This is the time for leaders to “lead from the front.”   Get up front and find the problems and fix them, or fire up the people who are supposed to get the job done. Unless you are prepared to rescind or modify the decision, make sure that everyone is on board with getting it implemented. In extreme cases, this might even require firing recalcitrant team members who are obstructing rather than facilitating the decision.

E: Evaluate the decision. This is the last, but most often overlooked step in decision making. Even when leaders follow up to make sure that their decisions are carried out, they often don’t come back later to evaluate the results. Evaluation is really the key to making great decisions. Most leaders understand that they can never make great decisions all the time. Even great leaders will make a poor decision periodically, but the only way to correct that is to evaluate the results. The fact is that even a successful missile launch is off target most of the time. It is up to the guidance system to make mid-course corrections while the missile is in flight so that it gets to the intended target. In the same way, leaders have the ability to achieve their intended results by making periodic reviews of their decisions. Depending on the nature of the decision, the elapsed time before a review may vary widely; however, if everyone knows that there will be a review, they will more diligently carry it out in the first place. Further, they will be looking for signs along the way that will help to make the evaluation more effective. So, make sure to set up a time to evaluate your decisions if you are the leader.

The AIME Decision Model is a simple model to understand, but perhaps not easy to execute in practice; however, using it regularly will instill discipline into the decision making process. This will not guarantee great decisions every time, but it will dramatically increase the probability of making good decisions over the long term. As you get used to applying the model, then it will naturally become easier to use. Make a good decision today and start using the AIME Decision Model.

Leonard Kloeber is an author and consultant. He retired from the US Army Reserves as a Colonel after more than thirty years of service. He also has extensive business experience of over twenty-five years as a hands on leader in a variety of businesses large and small. Most recently he was a human resources executive for a Fortune 100 company. His book – Victory Principles, Leadership Lessons from D-Day – illustrates seven bedrock leadership principles that all successful leaders use. Find out more at: http://www.victoryprinciples.com where you can a download free summary of the Victory Principles. Contact him at info@victoryprinciples.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Leonard_Kloeber


Written by editor

September 30th, 2009 at 6:37 pm