I sometimes wonder why making great decisions seems to be such a challenge for many leaders and their teams.  Consider this scenario.  There are four key decision-makers in a meeting speaking about a process that is not working.  Feelings are running high and there is a great deal of heated debate.  Everyone has a different take on what the problem is and what the best solutions should be.  And they are all putting forward a strong case for their way of seeing and solving this.

Fred thinks it is because people are not following the policies and procedures.  His solution would be to write more articulate procedures and offer an advanced training program.

Melissa is convinced that the problem is due to the fact that the process now being used has outlived its usefulness and is a dinosaur.  According to her ,the solution would be to reinvent the process so that it meets the new demands of the business.

“Huh!’ Says Joe.  Policies, procedures, dinosaurs, you guys are smoking something!  The problem is that we are measuring the wrong things and this is causing us to focus on the wrong aspects of the process.   We need to align our process measures with our strategic goals.  Come on guys!  It’s not quantum physics.  What you measure is what you get!”

“You gotta be joking,’  Amelia says.  It’s the culture in this company.  We don’t have a culture of quality and excellence and cohesion and pulling together.  I say we need to explore our values and change our culture so that we are more team, process and performance oriented.”

Four key decision makers in the room and four diverse viewpoints.

Good news or bad news?

This is great news because, as all great leaders know,  if you have four people in a room who all agree on what the problem is and how to solve it, three of them are redundant.

This brings up three critical questions for leaders:

  1. How do we identify, recruit and promote people in our team who have different thinking styles?
  2. How do we create a climate of mutual trust and respect that will support this kind of diversity?
  3. How do we integrate the best of diverse insights into an innovative and profitable decision?


If you are going to make decisions that have a high statistical chance of being innovative and profitably executed you will need four types of thinkers in the room:  (check if you have these in your team)

  1. A talented visionary.  Someone who understands future trends, and who easily imagines new concepts and ideas.
  2. Someone who can ask critical questions evaluating the business value of these ideas and whether they can be supported financially, technologically and logistically.
  3. A person who has a strong ability to think about the necessary steps of execution, resources, quality, regulations and procedures.
  4. A relationship builder who supports and motivates the team members, who is great with communication and customer relations and builds a positive culture.

More than one of these thinking styles may be present in a single individual.  But all four styles are a basic requirement for ensuring that the decision will take the business forward. Which way of thinking do you bring to your team?


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