As ever, management is all about making decisions. Sometimes this comes with the benefit of lots of time and input from others to come to a conclusion. Other times managers need to make snap decisions ‘on the hoof,’ because of commercial pressures.

Combined with time and commercial pressures, managers can also struggle with being decisive and especially on the tougher elements of the decision-making process.

Clearly, this can be a very subjective topic! At BMD Global however we have a simple approach to decision-making, which we believe will strip out some of the anxiety for you in your role and also when managing your team.

We call it the Exceed9 One, Two, Three decision-making process!

So for example, with each decision you have to make, before you decide quite how you will tackle it, consider classifying it into grades i.e. Levels one, two or three.

Level One decision-making

This would be an example of where you have decided and made the decision on this. It’s a decision that you have taken alone and require no further input from others. It is not up for negotiation or debate. This is how it’s going to be! And so in this way, not only have you demonstrated your leadership on this particular decision, but you will also take full responsibility for the consequences of that decision as well.

Examples of this would include e.g. implementation of an activity monitor within the sales team, because you sense there is an element of an ‘easy life’ going on with some of the team and they need to ‘up the ante.’

It could be something more strategic, like you have decided that (using your expertise and knowledge) you need to have an additional territory salesperson to what was previously an unmanaged and perhaps remote area.

And so on..

Level Two decision-making

Decision-making in this area would generally be driven by yourself, having first thought through the issue at hand that needs your direction. With a level two decision-making process however, you will be open to ideas and input from others and will listen to what they have to say, before coming to any concrete conclusion and then taking action.

So, this style of decision-making is more collaborative, but you are taking the lead on it and shaping it in a way that you want – albeit that you will listen to reason and qualified debate that might affect the final outcome and direction that is decided.

Examples here could include decisions on strategic focus. As the sales director, you may have decided to grow a particular market sector that you think has got opportunity for further development. Some of your senior team players however may be very against this because they have more experience than you in that particular area and would advocate another sector to focus on in preference to the one that you had in mind.

Level Three decision-making

These are decisions that you have to make as a manager which as yet you really haven’t got any firm or fixed opinions/ideas on where you want to go with them.

In this scenario, it is very much about opening the discussion up to the rest of the group around you (sales team or colleagues of course) about the way that they would suggest you in should go with these particular challenges.

So, these would be collaborative decisions that between you and the team decide the new direction that you want to take.

An example of this might be some elements of the marketing strategy for this year. The headlines have all been agreed; however you are now looking for the tactical input by the guys and gals as to what they would like to see/use within the framework of the overarching plan.

In Summary The Exceed9 One, Two, Three decision-making process should be used when ‘setting the scene’ with your colleagues/team around you, before moving forward.

As a manager, you clearly state what level of decision this is up front (i.e. a level one, two or three). You will find that very quickly the team get used to when they have to put up and shut up (you’re the boss and you’ve decided the outcome); or have an opportunity to input to some extent; or have a completely free rein and invited to get creative in a safe, nurturing environment – feeling their input will carry some weight in the final outcome.