The One Skill to Dramatically Accelerate Your Career Growth
There’s a fascinating aspect of moving up within a company. In the early stages, you need great hard skills. This is your expertise such as sales, marketing or finance. Being great at closing deals, designing campaigns or making numbers reveal hidden meanings will help you stand out. So in this article, let’s delve deeper into the 3Os framework as HR teams excel at measuring these skills.
As you reach higher positions, the requirement for great content skills decreases and you need to learn soft skills. How do you motivate individuals, how to make decisions and being strategic?
I label them as soft because they can be harder to measure. If you’re a sales rep, you know you’re doing a good job if you’re crushing your quota. If you’re managing people, how do you know you’re doing a good job? You could be a crappy sales manager in charge of great sales reps who are thriving despite you.
One of the most impactful soft skills is the ability to make decisions. Leaders are expected to be decisive and make the big calls. Your team will often look towards you in the toughest moments and knowing how to make decisions rapidly is superpower.
In this article, you will learn how to make better decisions and the surprising approach that can make you a 10x better leader.
Remember, It’s Not About You
Let’s dispel a myth. Leaders or executives are not paid to make big decisions. They are paid to get results. Many leaders feel the best way to do that is by making all the major decisions—and sometimes even the minor ones!—themselves. That’s a huge mistake.
If you focus on getting results, you will soon notice that helping others make the right decisions can be more effective. Everyone has a limited time and even if you’re fine working 12 hour days, you will become the bottleneck in a growing team.
The common term for what I’m describing is empowerment. Employees want to make more decisions but they are often prevented for a host of reasons which I will cover in the next section.
For now, you need to change your mindset about making decisions. You may be amazing at decision-making (as many leaders tell me) but what about your team? They don’t need to be as good as you, they just need to be good enough.
I would expand the common definition of being decisive. It’s not just about your ability to make decisions but helping others arrive rapidly at the best decision possible. That’s an incredibly valuable skill set for every leader. Let me show you a few ways on how to make it happen.
Helping Others Make Decisions
Every leader who is great at making decisions has an internal framework. Some are able to articulate easily and others need to be coaxed. Don’t believe anyone who says they are “natural”. They have simply internalized a process for making decisions that they can’t explain.
To help others though, you need some kind of framework to share. It doesn’t have to be your unique framework, but people need something to chew on, so to speak. There are many frameworks but let me share the one I created for my second book.
I call it the 3 Os and it stands for Outcomes, Options and Obstacles. You figure out the outcome you want (out of many), explore multiple options and list any obstacles that can get in your way. You can rank alternatives using a scoring system of High/Medium/Low, 1 – 10 or anything else.
You can then take this framework and help others understand how decisions are made. I was recently helping a client decide on a technology solution. Before we debated the options (step 2), we first talked about the outcome. They wanted something that could help them rapidly analyze data without being too technical.
With that in mind, we looked at all the options and ranked them using a scoring system. We then chose the best option and looked at the obstacles that could get in the way. Lack of support, too complex and unexpected pricing were some of the obstacles that were planned for.
The framework is simple by design. You need a structure to coach individuals when they make the wrong decisions and give them something to work on.
Let me finish by sharing some advanced concepts.
There’s an underrated metric every organization needs. I call it Decision Speed and it captures the time it takes your team to make important decisions such as strategy formulation, hiring of executives, major investments and so forth.
Focus on helping others increase their decision speed by understanding why they hesitate. Is it because of others? Do they lack information? Do they need more confidence?
The last point is incredibly important. Leaders today need more decision confidence than ever. As a leader, you have to deal with competitors, unpredictable market conditions, internal resistance, political landmines and more.
Finally, let me talk about delegating decisions. Some decisions have to be made by yourself but don’t fool yourself into thinking these are the majority. Decisions can be made by yourself, by a group or by someone you choose.
Keep in mind that each option has pros and cons. You can involve others in a group option while making the final decision yourself. If you assign someone, they should have full responsibility and authority. They need to have the right skills and information.
It’s not about you. You may make great decisions but what about your team? Focus on helping others make better decisions by coaching them through a framework. Allowing others to make the big decisions is a way to increase impact without working yourself to death.