Why New Leaders Should Make Decisions Slowly by Constance Dierickx

The stakes are high when a new leader takes over. Despite their training and experience, a full 74% of new leaders say they are unprepared for the new role, and in 18 months nearly half of them disappoint or fail entirely. In many cases, leaders either judge too quickly, making snap decisions that prove to be ill advised, or wait interminably to “gather more facts,” only for the critical moment to slip away.

Here are three strategies leaders can use to make decisions more effectively when they’re new to an organization.

First, manage the urge to “do something” right away. Having been courted, you will be eager to prove that hiring you was the right decision, but it’s critical to learn first and act second. At one company where I consulted, a newly hired senior executive, who was known as a marketing wunderkind, began making sweeping changes in the first month. She had great ideas but insisted on pushing an agenda before knowing her colleagues and the organizational culture. She ended up being removed in scarcely more than a year.

Experienced leaders, who may feel certain they already know the correct moves to make, instead need to listen, observe, and suspend judgment. This is especially challenging because others around you may be expecting quick action. One CFO I worked with restrained his urge to make immediate changes by taking notes about what he was learning in the early days of his tenure and recording some early conclusions. As he reflected on his notes later, he was able to see that he had initially held an incorrect assumption about his colleagues. Discovering this blind spot proved vital to his ability to lead a pivotal change later on.

Read the full article @ The Harvard Business Review

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