What Happens When a Good Decision Goes Bad?

Decision making is a core competency for leadership. Your ability to make decisions and implement them is a foundational principle.

But what happens when a good decision goes bad? How you handle these situations is as important – if not more important – than the original decision. These scenarios don’t necessarily mean that your original decision was a bad one. Circumstances change, and your ability to recognize such a shift is essential.

When you make an key strategic decision, try to build in contingencies for what you might do in the case of a reversal. For example, most partnership agreements anticipate the possibility of a partnership dissolution and have a plan for doing so integrated in the agreement.

Another example is making a key management hire. After a few months, you know that it’s not working, and you need to decide whether to tough it out or make a change.

Here is a process for evaluating decisions that no longer serve you.

Admit that things aren’t the way you envisioned. Often, the decision maker ignores the mistake. Business continues as usual until the mistake blows up. A strong first step is admitting that it’s not working.

Evaluate the situation. Can it be fixed? Is remediation possible? Is it a lost cause?

Consider your options. After evaluating the situation, think about the pros and cons for each option and weigh which option will be in the best interests of your organization.

Vet with a trusted advisor. Discussing with an objective, trusted advisor will help solidify your decision or provide new information to consider.

Redirect or course correct. Make your move and do what you need to do. When you’re sure of the decision, procrastination is a bad idea. Sometimes you may need to wait before reversing course, but often, it’s best to cut your losses and redirect.

Hopefully you don’t face this often, but it’s happens to all leaders. Knowing how to proceed will prevent stagnation.

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