5 Critical Questions for Effective Decision Making

by Onyeka Nchege on February 2, 2017

Clock in Hand - Time for Action!Great leaders know how to balance emotion with reason, which is why – as leaders – we are looked upon to make decisions that may heavily impact our business, our employees and a slew of outside stakeholders, for better or for worse. Simply put, we are the “decision makers.” 

Most leaders abide by a set of values and principles that not only align with the organization they serve, but with the inner workings of their beings (e.g. faith, family, etc.), all of which guides the decision making process. But what we often fail to recognize is that there’s a distinct difference between making a decision and acting on it – making a decision is only half the battle. Unfortunately, most of us fail to make this distinction until we’re confronted by it. 

I recently had to act on a very difficult decision. Somewhere along the way I could sense it was time to pump the breaks on a major project. I was able to solidify my decision to “slow down to speed up” by asking myself the following questions:

  1. Who will the decision impact and in what ways?
  2. What data and supporting facts must I validate in order to inform this decision?  
  3. Have I sought counsel and/or feedback on this decision?
  4. Do the benefits of this decision justify the anticipated related costs? 
  5. What will happen if the related costs exceed my initial projections and the benefits fall short of my initial projections?

Once my decision was made, though, I had to move forward with acting on it. It’s interesting how we begin to second-guess our decisions as soon as we grow hesitant to act on them. Whether your decision involves having a difficult conversation, making a drastic change or facing a harsh reality, remember that the questions above are designed to help you validate it. 

And while acting on your decision may seem like an entirely separate process, there’s really only one thing you need to do in order to convince yourself to move forward: Remember the “why” – the reason(s) you’ve made this decision. And remind yourself of the consequences you – and more importantly, your organization and its stakeholders – will face by avoiding or delaying it.

Take Action: Next time you find yourself grappling with the decision making – and the decision acting – process, remember the tips above. At the end of the day, remember there is a reason you are a decision maker.

Leadership on the GO…..It’s O.N

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Onyeka Nchege is the Chief Information Officer for Coca Cola Bottling Co. Consolidated (CCBCC), the largest independent Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. A frequent speaker on technology empowerment, leadership development, and business improvement, Onyeka is a graduate of the Georgia State University J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Onyeka currently serves on the Board of Directors for Apparo, Advisory Board for UNC Charlotte’s College of Computing and Informatics, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Charlotte, and Bethel Baptist Church Ministries.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Don Speese February 7, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Onyeka, That is a great check list we should all keep in mind for decisions in both business and personal. I particularly like #3; as a sanity check as well as a sounding board.

Thanks for sharing your ideas.

Don Speese


avatar Onyeka Nchege February 8, 2017 at 7:48 am

Thanks Don! #3 is real……”No man is an island”…..always gotta check check and recheck.


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