What are the leadership barriers to doing this?
On non-controversial matters, when the leader really could go with whatever the stakeholders identify with the most “pros”, I imagine no barriers exits. However, when after input it becomes clear that stakeholders are divided on what the leader now believes is the “best” option, that’s when the going gets tough. In moments like this is when the need to be liked gets in the way. This need may cause the leader to just go along with the “majority” rather than making the hard decision. Or, the leader may delay making the decision, continue to analyze the situation or seek additional input that supports her position so she “feels better” about making the decision.
What is the case for doing it anyway?
Making decisions to produce desired results is part of the leadership gig. Period. In a perfect world, when the stars align and every person giving you input is in agreement, making decisions is a piece of cake. In reality, a leader’s (or leadership team’s) job is to ask for input, genuinely listen to stakeholders and then make the final decision. Leadership is taking the heat for the ultimate decision.
How can you do it?
- Share the final pro/con list with the original group of key stakeholders (or in many situations at SOMC, a leadership team). Prior to your next leadership team meeting, send all participants the final list of pros and cons generated by all stakeholders. Ask each participant to reflect and come prepared to give input into the final decision.
- Determine the final decision by using structured discussion with decision criteria to come to consensus, or the technique of ‘multiple voting’ if more narrowing is needed. The most important step now is to look at the pro/con results from all stakeholders and apply a criterion to make the final decision. For example, you asked for all possible ways to do a new process and the pros/cons for each. Now you as the leader/leadership team has to view this list and make the final decision based on which idea will save the most cost (or best for the patient, have the safest outcome, etc.). Applying the most pertinent Strategic Values as the decision criteria will help guide you as a leader/leadership team on making the best final decision.
- Communicate the final decision. Develop a communication plan for the final decision, which should answer the What (what is the problem and decision), Why (why is it a problem and why this particular decision was made/Strategic Value criteria), Who (who will be affected by the decision), When (when will the decision go into effect), and How (how will the decision be implemented). The most effective way of communicating this is through a “live” roll-out and a printed FAQ (frequently asked questions) document.
Are there other techniques you have successfully used to communicate your final decision?
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