A Decision Making Tool When The Stakes are Large

Shawnee Love   •  
March 23, 2011

One of the hardest things a leader has to do is to make a decision that affects the livelihood of the people who work for him or her.

I want to share with you a simple decision making process I have been using successfully for more than 10 years. Prior to finalizing and implementing a decision, I ask myself 3 questions:

Is it legal?

Basically I want to know if a judge would support me if the decision ever got to court?

Is it ethical?

Is it the right thing to do in this situation or at least the best thing possible amidst other more unpalatable options?

Is it credible?

If it made the newspapers and was held up for scrutiny by the court of public opinion, would I still make this decision?

Even if the decision has negative consequences like people losing their jobs, loss of potential profit, or risk of losing a customer, answering these questions in the affirmative means I can look myself in the mirror the next day knowing I made the best decision I could at the time with the information I had.

Knowing that is worth its weight in gold.