Decisions, Decisions… Leaders, Are You Asking the Right Questions?

Article by , May 18, 2018

Today’s leaders make an astonishing number of decisions every day—decisions that require time for thoughtful reflection. Yet, if you are like many of the executives I’ve helped over the years, you probably find yourself pressured to make important decisions on the fly, without sufficient time for thorough consideration or requisite input from others. It’s an unfortunate dynamic, and it can lead to disastrous results.

Case in point. My client, Tina, is a seasoned executive at a global healthcare company, and she’s seen the rush-to-decide dynamic time and time again. Several years ago, Tina and her team were asked to salvage a major initiative that was on the verge of collapse. It was an important project, involving the development of a new IT system to process critical safety data for the FDA. By the time Tina was brought in to help, the project was a full year behind schedule and failing fast.

The problem was this: To be properly implemented, the new system would need to incorporate meaningful input from stakeholders across functions. It was an essential step for getting the system to work properly. But in an effort to hit an overly aggressive deadline, the project had been rushed—a lot. And while things progressed well enough at first, significant problems arose over time. Due to lack of communication and coordination, significant mistakes were made and relationships became strained. Ultimately, the entire system had to be rebuilt. It required an additional year and $2 million to arrive at a solution that worked. Time had been wasted, money squandered, and collaborations strained. Yet it had all been quite preventable. Dedicating a bit of time for upfront conversations would have made all the difference.

Are you making the time to articulate questions? By directly and proactively posing questions—about decisions, strategy, context, management changes, market challenges, and more—you create clarity. And that will help you accelerate progress, avoid mistakes, and prevent unwanted disruptions. It takes time, that’s true. But trust me, the return on that time will be exponential.

To learn about the ways I’m helping executives and their teams increase communication, improve collaboration, make the best decisions, and accelerate results, check out my all-new website, Or send me an email I’d love to hear from you!