Napoleon Bonaparte wrote “Nothing is more
difficult, and therefore more precious and exciting, than to be able to
Decision could be classified as critical,
important and common, according to effect that they will have. Taking decision
is something natural in our life, and most of our decisions come from an
intuitive side. These kinds of decisions are relatively easy to take and
predict, they are based on general common rules instead that they could significantly
change between individuals because his/her background and current context
(e.g.: cultural, religions, weather were the person live, etc).
When these rules become not at all general and they are bounded by both
internal and external factors, the decisions are more difficult to take and
predict (e.g.: buy a house, run or scream, etc). At this point, the decisions,
outcomes and consequences will differ, and we start to deal with the concept of
good or bad decision (and all the fuzzy spectrum in
But when the decision should be taken based on abstract concepts, in a
deep understanding and conceptualization of the problem, in a deep analysis of
many variables, etc, to take a decision becomes difficult. Under this
situation, to take good decisions all time (although they are not the better)
could be considered a virtue, a gift.
Finally, if we add one more variable (or variables considering
different timeframes) that it is the future in the consideration, the decision
making process become very difficult. And know, many aspects of the person
since natal skill till education and trying will affect on the efficacy of the
decision making process.
I remember a Bill Clinton's assistant comment about one of the
processes that Mr. Clinton had developed to facilitate his decision making
process: to resolve word-cross problems during his trip in helicopter to the
White House. Mr. Clinton argued that he trained and maintained lubricated his
brain making it.
To take a decision could have a huge impact in our lives,
it could give us a lot of control on our lives. So, the first understanding of
the decision making process should be how much to take the decision could
affect our lives. This understanding is essential trying to take the optimal
decision and having control of what is happening and what it will happen.
For a leader, to take decision requires a cognitive understanding of
the current state, the future state where s/he wants to move on, the variables
that they affect this movement and how with the decision will affect this trip.
The output effect could be represented in many variables (e.g.: time, money,
person killed, increased percentage in poverty, financial solvency, increase in
market share, revenue, employment, etc) as well as the variables that they must
be taken into consideration (e.g.: inflation, cost of material, money exchange,
public acceptance, etc). Louis
Pasteur wrote “Chance favors only the prepared mind.”
Sigmund Freud wrote “when making a decision of minor
importance, I have always found it advantageous to consider all the pros and
cons. In vital matters, however, such as the choice of a mate or a profession,
the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves.
In the important decisions of personal life, we should be governed, I think, by
the deep inner needs of our nature.”. This Freud’s
understanding of the decision making process is aligned with the
self-awareness, self-knowledge, values, vision and philosophy that a leader
should understand and proceed. Thus, after this complete self-knowledge, the
decision making process emerge as the base of this cognitive and unconscious
The process that the leader should follow in making decisions should be
supported by a clear understanding of the route where s/he wants to lead on. To
elaborate this understanding, the leader must have resolved and clarified
her/his values, personal philosophy leadership, vision, and set the goals under
her/his leadership. The decision process involves four different stages; the
first one is the understanding of the problem; the second stage is the
elaboration of the analytic model that it allows to fit the problem with the
leader’s values, vision, etc; the third stage is the finding of the potential
solutions for this model and the fourth stage is the communication and
execution of the mechanisms that they allow to implement the decision.
Goals are a powerful
multi-tool for leaders. They promote many behaviors and values such as
self-awareness, self-control, motivation, alignment, efficiency, higher
performance, communication, challenge people, etc.
Goal-setting positively affects the leader’s analytic strategy and
performance; the type of leadership has an important incidence in the
goal-setting and the participation, energy and commitment put into place to
achieve them. These goals help to establish boundary conditions in the
improvement of the leadership performance and decision taking process.
The goal setting process has a relationship with the idea of alignment
to the leader vision. Once the leader establish her/his parameter and
philosophy of leadership, s/he should define the goals for achieving the
different stages of the way that the leader has define as steps which they
allow to move in the direction that the vision has settled. In addition, the
goal setting-process allows to the leader to develop a mental imagery process
that enrich the inherent self-awareness leadership process. It provides an
illustration of the effect of the goals in the leadership framework context
that add value to the self-discussion process that the leader should develop.
The goal setting process has a strong relationship with the concept of
self-regulation and self-control. It is a powerful tool for the leader as
permanent feedback of the leadership process. The achievement or not the goals
permits to establish a control process for taking action according to the
deviation of the traced path. People/employees could participate of this process increasing the alignment of
them to the leader philosophy. Here, the leader could take the advantage of
this brainstorming process to emphasize and motivate people/employees as well
as many other leadership characteristics such as lead by example,
Goals are considered
to be major variable affecting and modifying behavior through motivation.
People show a better and aligned behaviour when they
know, understand and agree with the set goals. Also, goals can be used to
introduce changes; changes that could represent real challenges to people, and
a tool rewarding employee performance in business leadership.
In the case of
identity-related behavior, however, the rewarding is likely to focus on
organization/group commitment rather than on the actual results, thus
emphasizing social cohesion (e.g., see Lincoln, 1989; Ouchi,
1981). For value-related behavior, the reward (or at least the most motivating
part of it) comes from the satisfaction with the effort and from the enhanced
congruence between values and behavior (cf. Bandura,
1977; O’Reilly & Chatman, 1986; Shamir, 1991). In the U.S. case, the first
phase clearly rewarded (good) results, whereas the second phase was more
oriented towards giving employees intrinsic satisfaction with their work, not
the least by having a say about how their work was routinely performed.
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