Deepak Agarwal, long-time C-Suite executive of several major online retailers and successful entrepreneur, provided his insights on the pillars of effective decision-making, based on his experiences leading businesses in a variety of industries.
Decision-making is one skill leaders can’t do without. The ability to make decisions quickly and effectively from the top down directly impacts the functioning and success of an organization. Coupled with the ability to see the big picture, decision-making skills help leaders arrive at strategies that benefit themselves, their employees, and company.
We spoke with Deepak Agarwal, long-time C-Suite executive of several major online retailers and successful entrepreneur, to provide insights on the pillars of effective decision-making, based on his experiences leading businesses in a variety of industries, spanning online retail to business process outsourcing (BPO).
“What is perhaps the greatest threat to a leader’s decisiveness is decision paralysis, or the inability to make any decision due to fear of the residual effects,” Deepak “Dee” Agarwal points out. “To overcome decision paralysis and propel decisiveness, leaders must leverage and lean into the power of critical thinking, emotional intelligence, time management, and data gathering.”
Critical thinking is the ability to objectively analyze and evaluate a situation, issue, or problem in order to reach a decision. It requires going beyond the face-value facts and truly understanding short and long-term implications, motives of various parties, and impacts on people, places, and processes.
“Great leaders practice critical thinking by evaluating pros and cons, looking at an issue from different angles, taking in differing perspectives, and weighing the outcomes of various decisions before acting,” Dee Agarwal says.
Critical thinking requires an ample amount of logic and visualization techniques, and in a company or team setting, identifying, analyzing and solving problems systematically can help leaders determine and set realistic and achievable organizational goals. Visualization techniques are a tool for critical thinking that helps to move the problem or situation out of the mind of the decision-maker and present it in a formatted and digestible way. One visualization technique is argument mapping, which brings information into a visual format, providing a logical structure outlining the reasoning, evidence, and solutions.
Emotional intelligence, or the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions, is an often overlooked skill that is pivotal to a leader’s decision-making and ultimately, success. The ability of leaders to be aware of and gain control of their emotions is paramount in making decisions. This is especially true in emotionally charged situations, where the outcome of the decision-making process may profoundly impact many. Mastering emotions to benefit decision-making for an organization can be practiced by exercising active listening and empathy.
“Emotions can cloud our ability to make good decisions. This is why learning to take control of one’s emotions can help leaders make decisions that benefit the whole rather than a select few in the short term,” Deepak Agarwal explains.
Additionally, it’s important to take into consideration how emotions drive others’ actions when assessing a situation. People are emotional creatures, and how they feel often dictates their behaviors. By developing emotional intelligence, leaders can be better equipped to read through the lines and gain a deeper understanding of the context in which the situation is occurring, leading to more informed decision-making.
Decisive leaders are masters of time management. Time is the equivalent of gold, and wasting it in fruitless decision-making is what separates great leaders from those they lead. In an organizational setting, strong leaders use time as a tool to push the decision process along, collecting the information needed to properly analyze and support critical thinking on the scenario. Leaders must be aware of the broader timeline of their organization, and how this decision will not only impact future plans but how it will be perceived in the context of other recent notable events or decisions that have altered the business.
“Failing to make a decision is a decision not to act. Leaders need to balance the timeline in which the decision will be most impactful while taking the time to thoroughly walk through the decision-making process,” Deepak Agarwal says.
Research is another essential step involved in decision-making, allowing business leaders to gather details about key business areas from internal and external sources. For example, if the organization is planning to make an operational shift such as implementing a new CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform, it would be beneficial for leadership not only to assess case studies from other companies that have transitioned to a new system but also conduct internal research by surveying employees for the feedback on the current system.
“Gathering data both internally and externally prior to making decisions is good practice. In workplaces, it leads to formulating better policies and helps leaders chart the direction of the organization and income-generating activities,” Dee Agarwal says.
With so many factors affecting the decisiveness of leaders, they must learn how to harness important leadership skills that aid decision-making to best make choices that benefit their organizations as a whole.
Release ID: 89082241
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