The Competitive Advantage of Good Decision-Making

What’s NEXT?

Last week, I was in an executive team meeting where I serve as the Company’s CFO. We had a terrific discussion with a few senior team members asking the CEO what to do next. It was a “Well, boss, now what do we do?” type moment. We’ve all been there as the leader or team member. It’s a question that, in our daily lives, we all tackle minute by minute. So I am writing this right now, then I will jump on a call at 2:30 PM, but before that, I will save this post as a draft so as not to lose it. Is that the right thing to do? I don’t know.

What to do next is, in truth, a complex decision. And for organizations who do not have the muscle memory to hit save before closing out of a spreadsheet, so to speak, it can be daunting. It can often feel like walking into a grocery store without executive team lists. Everyone knows that dinner can be found somewhere, but the options are so vast.

It’s all so uncertain

I’m not sure one can ever be certain about a good decision. Squeezing risk out of decisions has developed into a national obsession. Risk-free choices do not exist, although most people look for them as a rational option. In my experience, an organization’s most important competitive advantage is its leaders’ judgment and decision-making capabilities. Good judgment trumps nearly everything. The most critical decisions are deciding what to do and when. 

Every hand’s a winner, every hand’s a looser

In this executive team meeting, I asked the CEO if he could remind us of the revenue goal for FY23. He did not miss a beat. He knew what we needed to do next. So we need to focus our resources and attention on scaffolding next year’s revenue goal. At that moment, over Zoom, he led by relying on the work that had already been done: the strategy, the goal; the plan; the execution. At the moment, his direct reports were looking to him for leadership. 

You are leaning into work done, and decisions are not always the correct answer. If history is always your guide, innovation and the free exchange of ideas take the second chair to the past. Knowing when to re-examine your strategy and when to rely on it is critical.   Kenny Loggins wrote that every hand is a winner and every hand’s a loser. The competitive advantage of good decisioning is knowing what to throw away and what to keep (and when).