Decisiveness: Rise to the Leadership Challenge

When confronted with the same general problem, leaders can take different approaches. The challenge for people who need to make similar decisions in the future is: how do you decide what’s most effective?

When I attended law school, a colleague and I decided to use our evaluation and computer skills to test the idea that you could evaluate the effectiveness of laws by analyzing comparable data. Noting that each state in the US had its own laws to control access and use of alcoholic beverages, we chose that topic. (We discovered that only a few key components of the complex laws each state had significantly made any difference on the desired impacts.)

Today, I work with a group of 23,000 smart, ambitious CEOs who are hungry for more success and therefore join Vistage Worldwide. To support my mentoring and facilitation on behalf of over two dozen of them in the New York area, I’m constantly learning from my own observations as well as leadership experts (e.g., Jim Collins’ comparisons in Good to Great) as well to meta-studies that do the same (e.g., What Really Works: The 4+2 formula.)  


After the coronavirus pandemic is over, analysts will study the different actions taken by different states and countries to learn how best to handle future pandemics. Over the weekend, I heard an analysis of why some countries (e.g., Sweden, Germany, Taiwan) were more successful in preventing major outbreaks and deaths, than other countries (e.g., US, England, Russia and Brazil). They found that leaders in the countries which prevented major outbreak had more decisive leaders: they immediately identified the potential problem, focused on taking action, and executed the plan.

Interestingly, decisiveness by leaders is also the focus of an article in Forbes. Ms. Kasowski notes that people gravitate to leaders who are more decisive – leading to greater impact.    She provides three basic actions leaders should take to be more decisive:

  • Reflect and understand where your hesitation comes from
  • Visualize your outcome 
  • Trust yourself and your outcome.

There are an enormous number of uncertainties that the post-pandemic world presents. As leaders, our job is to rise to the challenge of making wise decisions on behalf of our stakeholders. By doing so, decisively, you are likely to both generate better outcomes and attract the support you need from your stakeholders to achieve them.  That’s why I share this information with my Vistage member CEOs whom I am privileged to serve. Are you ready to rise to the challenge?

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