You made a mistake. Sure, everyone makes mistakes. But, you? You’re not everyone. You NEVER make mistakes. Or, at least you avoid admitting it. How do you respond when you’ve made a mistake? How do those around you respond?
Follow Your Gut
How do you make decisions in the first place? Intuitive decision makers follow their gut. Have you had the experience of waking up in the morning with a fully formed idea? Some people have their epiphany while taking a shower. Some people have epiphanies all day long! Your subconscious noodles on a problem you’re facing, and your intuition presents a solution. Often the solution just feels right.
Some leaders will direct their team based on their intuition, frequently without vetting their ideas. Teams working under this leadership style often simply respond to the direction—they will have learned the futility in trying to reason with the leader’s intuition. That said, a friend of mine shared an important tip for dealing with this leadership style.
The 24-Hour Rule
When faced with direction from the intuitive leader that may take the team off-track, my friend will quietly respond with one sentence in the following form, “If we do this, then that could happen.” Then he shuts up. He has discovered that about a day later, the intuitive leader will revise the direction in a manner that avoids the outcome my friend presented. The leader provides no explanation nor offers any reflection, only new direction. The leader’s intuition has spoken. And, the leader never had to admit a mistake.
How do data-driven decision makers deal with a bad decision? This decision maker will recognize the mistake and will have a reason. “There are new circumstances.” Or, “there is new information.” Often, the leader will blame a person or entity for the situation and claim to be the victim.
Data-driven decisions are necessarily based on historical evidence. The data is derived from something that already happened. These decision makers will make the best possible decision based on the available data. Their trap is that they may not consider alternative scenarios outside of the data set. The decision is perfect if everything goes perfectly. When it doesn’t, there must be blame.
One way to overcome an acute reliance on past data is to have a Plan B. Taking the time to imagine scenarios in which your plan does not proceed perfectly, forces you to envision alternative futures and ascribe possibilities to those futures. Doing so prepares you and your team for inevitable adjustments to plans and gives your team the mechanism to make those adjustments without feeling victimized.
How would you characterize the decision making style of your team and how do you adjust when things don’t go as planned?