07 Feb '14
Posted by T.J. Addington in thinking grey
A secret of wise individuals and leaders is the ability to evaluate all sides of a potential decision, listen carefully to those who are part of the decision or will be impacted by it while keeping all options open until the decision must be made.
This is called thinking grey.
All key decisions have consequences, some of them unintentional. The better one understands the consequences and can smoke out the unintended consequences the better. That takes time and time is the ally of all good decisions. The faster we make key decisions the greater the risk of a significant downside.
Leaders who practice grey thinking are upfront with others who should have input that they are mulling on a certain course of action but that they have not made a decision. They invite input without making premature commitments regarding their ultimate course of action. And, they are willing when they are processing but have not come to a decision to say, "I am thinking grey on that."
Some leaders are unable to say those words, thinking that they always need to have an answer. Good leaders willingly admit that they may not have an answer but in telling staff that they are thinking grey they invite conversation and dialogue until a decision has been made.
Finally, good leaders don't make a decision until they need to. The longer one can put off a decision without hurting the organization, the more time one has to get clarity on the issues and clarity allows one to make better decisions. Many decisions made by leaders would have been better made or better executed if they had taken more time to think grey before pulling the trigger.