Have you ever had to make a decision when you didn’t have much time to think?
During April and May I ran a series of courageous sponsor webinars and workshops to help project sponsors and leaders with Decision making under pressure. Participants had to make individual decisions in as little as 15 seconds and critical collective decisions within 10 minutes. With COVID-19, many world leaders are now living every day in the zone of terror, with executive functioning compromised leading to decision making becoming more difficult. Some sponsors shared their observations of dealing with an unprecedented level of uncertainty, including questions like “What projects do I stop and what do I commit to completing if our income has taken a heavy hit?”
There are no easy answers and you need to be a considered AND speedy decision-maker. You have to consider many different perspectives, which sometimes conflict. (People’s health vs. the economy for example). It is important to make a decision, even if it is the wrong one. Doing nothing is not an option. Followers respect calm and decisive leaders.
To help you make decisions under time pressure, BACK yourself using the Courageous decision-making steps
- B – Breathe. Clear your head and collect your thoughts. Deep breathing clears cortisol and helps restore executive function.
- A – Assess the risk that is appropriate for the group. Ask “Is it ethical?” Ask “what is good for the short-term vs. the long-run?”
- C – Create choices – two to three options maximum. Too many choices adds more stress. Looking at those choices, ask “What’s in my (our) control?”
- K – Kick into action. Make your choice and take action. You will learn from this experience and improve your decision making the next time.
Courageous sponsors – our curious Ducks, effective Eagles and wise Owls – also take responsibility for their decisions, even if it later turns out to have been the wrong decision. It has been interesting following the press and observing the behaviour of our world leaders and the impacts of their behaviour on their citizens.
Which leaders do you think have been making good decisions under pressure? Who has inspired you? What behavioural traits have they exhibited that you would wish to emulate in a pressure situation?