This week, the Phillips Edison team will meet in Nashville for our Annual Meeting. We hold this event each year in an effort to give the team an opportunity to come together and reconnect. All associates will spend three days reviewing the results and goals of the business and discussing a variety of topics vital to our continued success. One topic that we will highlight this week is the need for excellent decision making skills at all levels of the company.
Strong leaders make decisions. They accept the inherent risk that comes with each decision and they move forward based on the best information available to them.
Given the paramount importance of this skill, I expect every leader on the Phillips Edison team to be willing and able to make the tough calls. I also expect them to be able to stand behind their choices because they used a well-thought-out decision making process to evaluate all options and consider all of the pertinent facts.
The article “How to Make Effective Business Decisions” by Marci Martin (Business News Daily Contributor October 12, 2015) offers a brief overview and basic guidelines for decision making from a leadership perspective. There are some excellent points regarding the value of this skill and I would encourage all leaders, and those who aspire to be leaders, to check it out.
In her article, Ms. Martin shares Gayle Abbott’s (president of Strategic Alignment Partners human resources consulting firm) recommended decision making strategy which is as follows:
- Identify the problem.
- Analyze the possible solutions.
- Evaluate the possibilities that are likely to bring you closer to your goal.
- Make the decision.
This model aligns closely with the decision making process that Phillips Edison teaches its emerging leaders. However, we often find that people get stuck in the second two steps – essentially experiencing “analysis paralysis”. Ms. Martin’s article addresses this when it quotes Abbott, saying "Sometimes you’ve got to say, 'I've now gathered all of this information and it is time to act.' The most successful people don't have to have all the information. They are willing to take risks. A big part of it is knowing when to be decisive."
The ability to make good, informed decisions keeps us moving forward and prevents people and businesses from becoming stagnant or outdated. It’s one of the most important skills leaders must develop in both themselves and their teams. I often tell my team that Phillips Edison understands that every decision is a risk but, as long as decisions are based on facts and have sound reasoning, the company will support them. Even a decision that doesn’t lead to the desired outcome can be a learning experience and, as a learning organization, we actively work with associates to recognize and grow from these lessons.
I encourage all of our associates to actively seek to develop their decision making skills and I ask that managers give their teams opportunities to do so. It’s a risk – for everyone involved – but a necessary one for continued success. A thriving company must have leaders that can make the decisions. It must also develop future leaders with the same skill. Most importantly, for any of this to happen, the company must give team members the tools, access, responsibility and authority they need to make decisions – and yes, sometimes mistakes – and learn from them both. The team and the company will be stronger for it