How Executives Make Decisions

What do you find if you go through interviews with 6,500 executives and figure out what drives the best decision makers?  What behaviours do you want to hire for if you’re looking for somebody to fill a key role in your organization?

Bias to action, passion to succeed, and resourcefulness.

The best executives and leaders are curious and learn at light speed. They are humble and have no problem abandoning dumb ideas.

They guard their time jealously  – deciding not what to spend their time, learning just enough to dismiss an idea or decide to spend more time on it

The best have a habit of disciplined systematic analysis. Whether it takes minutes or weeks, or it’s done on the back of envelope, or a thorough, disciplined, formalized decision-making process. Whether their choosing a summer camp for their children or deciding the strategic direction of a multi-national.

They build long-term relationships with people they trust that they can instantly tap for advice and support.

The best take responsibility. While they get input from everywhere and everybody this does not mean they rely on consensus or vote. They want to be challenged, but will decide based on what they think is best. When they make a poor decision, they take the heat and learn from it. The bias for action needs is  balanced by humility.

Then they execute. Strategy without execution is useless, execution without strategy is aimless. Success requires great execution, over-communication, patience, resourcefulness, and persistence.

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