Simon Terry

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Decision review for leaders

Leaders decisions are reviewed in real time. Are you up for scrutiny?

Umpiring decisions are now subject to detailed review in many sports, often controversially. What we have learned in this process is that human decisions made in an instant are often unreliable. Importantly, review itself does not always lead to greater certainty or a better outcome.

Leaders are highly visible and subject to the same exacting review. Teams scrutinize their actions and comments. There is a permanent decision review system in place on the actions of leaders. Nothing is irrelevant to a team trying to understand the leader’s agenda and whether the leader is true to his or her word.

How can a leader manage this level of scrutiny?

Recognize your actions and decisions are all public & subject to review: everything is subject to review. Even private actions will be discussed if someone is aware of them. Be ready to explain yourself to the watching review system.

Share your thinking where the basis for your actions is uncertain: you are better to provide an explanation than to have the review system in your team construct one. If you were uncertain, but a confident decision was required say so. Help the team understand the difference between certainty and confidence.

If it is an anomaly or an error, wear it: pretense just leads people to question your competence.

Signal: people are watching so remember you can send signals with your actions and decisions, even the smallest ones.

Most of all be clear & repeat yourself: your team rarely has a video replay of your actions. They will compare their notes instead. Their perceptions might be unreliable. Repeat your actions to improve clarity.

Every decision of a leader is up for review. Expect and manage it.


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