Want to save more? Sometimes, having a good career is just the way to do it. So, how do you advance your career? Listen to what this guest poster has to say.
I ran the marketing team for a technology company in Silicon Valley in my previous job. One of my direct reports, a smart and talented young man, would come to me with virtually every decision he had to make. No matter how many times I explained that I expected him to make decisions himself, he would invariably come to me a few hours later with another. At one point, the email from this individual accounted for about 30% of my daily email traffic. I left my previous position to join my current employer two years ago, but I can tell you that things may not have ended well for this otherwise excellent employee had I stayed with the company.
Just like my Nervous Nelly report, I was also worried about making decisions when I started my career. However, I soon realized that people not only wanted others to make decisions, they also respect them for taking the initiative when they do. They call it leadership. Yes, you accept responsibility for the consequences of your decisions, which I am guessing is exactly why most people are happier dumping the decision making on the next guy. However, and here’s the punchline, if you are willing to take the risk, people will follow you. And that is the most direct path to career development.
Let me share another secret with you: in the vast majority of cases, any negative consequences of your decision making will be only minor. If you made a mistake, admit it, take responsibility and correct it. No big deal.
If you take my advice and plan to start making more decisions, the trick is to know the difference between those decisions which you can take on your own, and the ones where you must seek input, guidance and yes, sometimes even the decision itself, from other people. That knowledge comes with experience and with a little bit of trial and error, but here are some of guidelines which you can use to make decisions in a business setting:
- Size and Importance of the Decision – How critical is the decision to the long term success of your company? The bigger and the more important the decision the more people should be involved in the decision making process.
- Expertise – Do you have the expertise to take the decision on your own? If there is someone in your organization who has relevant experience or expertise that you don’t have, they should be involved in the process.
- Bias Against Going to the Boss – Unless your boss tells you that he wants to be involved in a certain project or decision making process, you should rarely go to him for a decision, unless you decide that something is not within your skill set. The whole idea behind an organization is division of labor – what’s the value for your boss in having you around if he still needs to be involved in everything?
- Information – Do you have enough information to make a decision and can any missing information be collected in a reasonable amount of time? You will be amazed how many people insist on making a decision only when they have 100% of the relevant information. That disease is known as analysis paralysis. Decision making under conditions of uncertainty is what business is all about. You need to have enough information to make an educated decision but often you can’t wait until you know everything for sure.
- Always Follow the Rules – If your company has a policy that explains what you can and cannot do, you would be well advised to follow it.
Master these decision making criteria and you are well on your way to being an asset for your company and to taking the next step in your career, regardless of whether you are working for a small or large company.
This is a guest post by Shadox of Money and Such . Shadox blogs about personal finance, career, career development, economics and life in general.