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Make Decisions for Long Term Success

leadership transition Dec 06, 2023

- By Sophie Pinkoski

After experiencing years of continued uncertainty, it’s difficult to envision making long-term goals for your organization. However, organizations have learned that by building resilience through adapting and creative problem solving, we are capable of keeping overcoming ongoing challenges.

Although an intimidating prospect, decision making for the long-term is what is needed. The world is naturally unpredictable, and certainty is never assured.

By embracing change, you can learn to adapt your organization to any eventuality. It’s time to not only bounce back from earth-shattering change but bounce forward as well.

Decision making can be a demanding process and the types of setbacks you may face on the way to achieving your long-term goals can be anxiety-inducing. The pressures of making high-stakes decisions can leave you and your team overwhelmed. 

Here are ways to manage decision-making to preserve the longevity of your organization:

Approach complexity as an opportunity for innovation –– Empower your team to contribute fresh, new ideas by ensuring they have psychological safety to share their perspectives. Understand what each of your team members need to develop their capacities to contribute their best ideas when faced with potential opportunities. In turn, they must be able to easily understand your organization's vision in order to drive productive discussions for purposeful and proactive strategic planning. This way, when challenges do arise, your team can make quick assessments and brainstorm ways to innovate to allow your organization to adapt.

The goal here is to make decisions and move forward both quickly and sensibly from the discussion phase into effective action.

Don’t be afraid to pressure test your ideas in order to identify flaws and improve your plans. Often there won’t be a right or wrong answer, only informed decisions based on what data and resources you have on hand. Finding creative ways to pivot when your decisions don’t work as planned will ultimately be better for your organization than making no decision at all.

Collaborate with leaders outside your organization for sustainable change –– It’s easy to prioritize the financial aspect of your organization.

However, considering the social impact of your organization will feed into your vision, mission, and purpose that drives your organization’s influence over time.

Your organization’s social responsibilities will likely involve complexities too big for a single organization to manage on its own. Sharing in intentional change means engaging with individuals and groups outside the boundaries of your team’s expertise and organization’s focus. Bringing a variety of different leaders together for a healthy combination of broad general knowledge and specialization in niche areas to support a common cause allows for more efficient information sharing and distribution of resources to achieve your goals.

Openly communicate your organization’s direction for accountability –– The decision-making process itself should be made clear for everyone involved. Your team should be made aware of any progress, setbacks, challenges, and next steps to address each aspect properly.

Your goals should be both measurable and achievable.

This might mean breaking down big organization-defining decisions into smaller goals to make the process easier to manage and track. Smaller, more frequent decisions can be delegated by identifying which members of your team have the capacity to take on particular responsibilities. Make sure there is no room for ambiguity in terms of who has decision-making authority for certain tasks to keep the process moving. Challenge yourself to give your team ownership over decisions being made. Normalize accepting when decisions aren’t working so that individuals can learn and grow from the experience and adapt the organization’s next steps accordingly.

Making crucial decisions for your organization can be intimidating. Assessing the risks of each potential decision is a complicated process, but it’s worthwhile to untangle it by exploring proactive, innovative solutions with your team, stakeholders, and partners.

Being able to adapt to any challenge that comes your way makes your organization more resilient.

Your long-term decisions not only pave the way for your organization’s future, but also that of the community it serves. The dynamic leadership choices you make to maintain your organization’s long-term social impact will ensure it remains not only relevant, but influential for years to come.


Further Reading

Six Principles of Sustainability Leadership, LinkedIn

Sustainable Leadership: Meaning and 5 Must-Have Qualities, WDHB

Raising the Resilience of Your Organization, McKinsey

Untangling Your Organization’s Decision-Making, McKinsey

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