What if We Make a Bad Decision?

Contributed by Brad Egeland

DecisionI’ve always said, project managers must be bold. They must be confident. They need to be good decision makers. But even more than that, as leaders, they must be bold and confident decision makers. Stand by their choices and be ready to back them up. Wavering too much isn’t an option. It’s ok to change your mind, back up and re-think a choice, etc. But when it’s all on the line and you make the choice based on what you have in front of you, you must show confidence in that decision. You’re the leader…you need to keep the troops following you. They will if they see you’re confident. They won’t if you meltdown in the face of adversity.

Remember, I'm not talking about just any decision here. We make choices and decisions on our projects all the time and some of those turn out to be wrong or at least not the best choice in hindsight. Here I'm talking about the type of decision or choice that has a significant impact on the project, the timeline, the budget, the team, and/or the customer. A high dollar, high impact decision.

But what if I was wrong?

Which leads me to the next thought. What if you were wrong? What if it becomes painfully obvious in the following days the choice or decision you made was not the right one? Then what do you do? Resign? Cry? (Seriously, I saw one project pro actually really cry - so I know it's a possibility.) Take it out on others? Go into hiding? Stand your ground?

Well, the answer to all of these – even that last one – is NO. Remember the old saying, “Never let them see you sweat?” Well, you didn’t a few days back when you made the wrong choice and now you need to show that same resilience as you pick your pride up off the floor, dust it off without showing any remorse, regret or weakness, shrug your shoulders and admit you made the best choice you could at that time, with what you had on the table….and you must have been wrong. What?  Wrong?!? Yes, wrong. And that’s ok.

What do you do next?

Brad-bio66Brad Egeland is a Business Solution Designer and IT/PM consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management, and project management experience leading initiatives in Manufacturing, Government Contracting, Gaming and Hospitality, Retail Operations, Aviation and Airline, Pharmaceutical, Start-ups, Healthcare, Higher Education, Non-profit, High-Tech, Engineering and general IT. Brad is married, a father of 9, and living in sunny Las Vegas, NV. Visit Brad’s site at http://www.bradegeland.com/.

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