This is the 8th installment in my series on the 10 principles of military leadership, which I started with a blog post on February 20th. Each of my blog posts since that date have covered these leadership principles, which are used by military forces to teach, develop, and evaluate leaders at all ranks. They are applicable in all walks of life and all situations, and especially in businesses and other organizations.

Decision-making is fundamental to leadership. There are two components to this principle. First, decisions must be sound. Second, they must be timely.

Sound decisions are appropriate given the level of resources and the intended effect. They are arrived at rationally, if at all possible, after considering various options and their possible direct and indirect effects. It doesn’t matter if the decisions are made hastily or intuitively, providing there are means in place to manage the inherent risks of uncertainty. Finally, decisions are sound if the majority of the followers buy into them and there is no major resistance to their implementation. The final characteristic requires that decisions be explained and understood by everyone involved in carrying them out or supporting them.

Timely decisions are ones that are taken at the right time to have the best effect. The best decision taken and implemented at the wrong time is useless. Timely decision-making requires assurance and boldness. Most of this book is about sound, timely, efficient, and effective decision-making in support of business objectives.

© 2012 Richard Martin. Reproduction and quotes permitted with full and proper attribution.

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