Shawn Jenkins Blog


Put Yourself on the “Decision Shot Clock”

One of the greatest demotivators for a team is a lack of decision-making by the people in charge. 

When a group of people work hard to accomplish a goal or overcome an obstacle, yet they are held up by some decision that cannot or will not be made, it cripples their soul. Haven’t we all been there, waiting for some superior to make a selection and wonder to ourselves, “What’s the point?”

Momentum—either up or down—in your business can make you uncomfortable. The quickening pace in either direction causes you to want to wait until things slow down before you make decisions. You might simply want to gather more information so that you make the best decision. 

That’s understandable. However, you have to weigh the impact of delaying a decision against the potential negative impact on your team. 

A simple method I developed was to put myself on the Decision Shot Clock. If I was asked to make a decision on a project or topic and I felt that I needed a bit more time or more information, I would implement a timer, much like the shot clock in basketball. I generally stuck to a 48-hour decision clock just to keep it straight in my head.

For example, if on a Wednesday afternoon a team presented me with an update on a project and asked for a decision, yet I needed a bit more time to read up on it or ask a colleague, I would ask for the ability to make the decision by Friday afternoon. We agreed that if I did not respond by Friday afternoon, then the team could decide without me and move forward. 

The benefit of this was that I got the time I needed and the team got the certainty that they desired. The additional benefit was that if they did make a decision without me and it did not work out well, they had given me the opportunity to participate and because I did not, then I was not in a position to be critical. 

And of course the biggest benefit was that things kept moving in the company. A business requires movement. It’s alive. It has to keep going forward. This is the reason the shot clock was developed in sports. It keeps the pace up, the excitement up, the teams engaged, and everyone participating.

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