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Your Clear Next Step Blog

Signs Your Decisions Are Sliding Instead of Sticking

Sometimes decisions, for whatever reason, don’t stick. Maybe they were poor decisions. Stressed businessman looking at arrows drawn on a wallMaybe they didn’t get enough buy-in. Maybe they weren’t communicated clearly. So what are the warning signs? How can we tell if our decisions aren’t having the impact or effect we thought they would, and what can we do to course correct?

Decisions that don’t stick are troublesome in organizations for many reasons... 

they hold up projects, they create additional churn, and they waste valuable time and energy that should be spent moving forward instead of rehashing what you thought you decided. The first step is catching a decision that’s beginning to slide–here are some signs that your decision isn’t as “stuck” as you thought.

We Decided to What?

“What did we decide again?” Are you revisiting the same decision in your team meetings or status updates? Do you find yourself reminding each other what you decided, or just forgetting altogether? If you’re unclear on what exactly you decided, chances are it’s not moving forward smoothly. This sort of churn costs organizations and projects valuable time that could be spent implementing the decision instead of teams wracking their brains because they couldn’t remember what they decided last time. Clarifying and documenting decisions is the first step in making them stick!

We Haven’t Committed 

“We think we’ll probably go with X but we’re still exploring our options” or “We’re waiting on So and So to make the final call.” For whatever reason, you know the route you’ll probably go, but you haven’t pulled the trigger and said “yes” yet. Ok…but are you actually actively exploring your options, or just procrastinating? It’s great that you don’t want to make a hasty decision, but sometimes an expanded timeline doesn’t make a decision any easier or better. Or maybe it’s out of your hands–maybe you’ve made your recommendation to the final decision maker, and they have the next step. What else might they need from you to make the call? How can you help them push the decision through so your project can move forward? Do you need to remind them? Do you need to give them options? Do you still need to convince them that this is the right call? Remember that people will take all the time you give them, so put a deadline on your decisions, and assign someone to keep driving it forward.

Lack of Buy In

“We’re not sure that’s the best idea,” or “I don’t know why we decided that.” Not everyone will agree with every decision you make, but you still need the consensus and buy-in from key stakeholders to drive the decision forward through implementation and adoption. The first part of this is to communicate the “Why” behind the decision. What was the rationale behind this particular route? Clarify and document the benefits or contributing factors associated with the decision. What good will come of it? What bad will be circumvented because of it? Write it down, publish it, present it to stakeholders, and ask them for their help and support getting the word out to people who will be impacted. If this decision will create change for others, be mindful and plan ahead for that–how will you communicate the change associated with this decision and ensure a successful transition?

We’re Not Sure What’s Next

“So we decided…now what?” You’ve made the decision, gotten approval, and then came to a standstill. You’re not sure what the next steps are, who’s implementing, or when you should expect results–or maybe you’re assuming the answers to all these things…(pro-tip: don’t do that). Repeat after us: “Who will do What by When.” Take charge of implementation–create an action plan, assign accountability and deadlines.  Who will be in charge of driving this decision forward and seeing it through? What support will they need? Clarify and document this with the team, and confirm that you’re all on the same page about Who will do What by When!

Make It Easier to Make Good Decisions!

Decision making is a bumpy process for many–make it easier with our tools, templates, and processes! We’ve boiled our decision-making process from 7 steps down to 5, and we’re sharing them with you! Check out our on-demand webinar, How to Make Solid Decisions that Stick here

Sinikka headshot 2017

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day.

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