The higher you climb up the corporate ladder, the more you will be receiving advice from other people — in order for you to make the tough decisions.
The challenge, often, is to make the decision based on the best information possible.
Some decisions come after significant preparatory work while some are spur of the moment.
One of our favourite techniques when coaching teams to think bigger, and that you can use with your team, is to ask the team to write a memo to you early in the process titled “Reasons Why You Would Say No to This Approach.”
Tell the team you will read the memo, only once they have come to you with their final recommendations.
In essence the team ends up having a conversation with themselves (and you) in the future, to challenge their own advice.
Executive coaches will often use a similar, though simpler technique with individual clients to spark some quick new thinking. “Imagine yourself a month (or a week, or a year) from now. Picture where you’ll be sitting, what you’ll be doing, who you’ll be talking to, what you’ll be saying to them.”
As we take a few moments and help them craft this imaginary future, our clients often begin to see where they want to be, and what they might need to do differently to get there.
Another decision making challenge we often witness is seeing things as “either-or.” Either we choose Option A, or we choose Option B. We rarely allow ourselves to consider blending the best of Option A with the best of Option B.
A great way to step outside that binary thinking is a technique we use with our coaching clients, and you could use with your team – ask your team to “tell me about your second-best choice, tell me why it is good.”
A simple, direct “coach approach” question like that will often lead to inspiring conversations about how we could use the best of that second-best option to make the best option even better.
How will you challenge yourself, and your team, to think broader and to consider all the best information when making decisions?