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Effective Decision-Making: The 3 Key Questions Every Leader Should Ask

Mastering decision-making is key to business growth! Learn how to make quick, well-informed decisions and seize opportunities with confidence with these three questions.


As I consult with organizations, leaders consistently tell me that when their team members approach them to make a decision, they may bring data to the table, yet are unable to answer basic questions related to the decision.

They aren’t alone. In fact, in a McKinsey Global Survey on the topic, only 20 percent of respondents said their organizations excel at decision-making. Further, a majority say much of the time they devote to it is used ineffectively.

This is a problem that needs to be addressed.

Strong decision-making skills are essential for driving business growth. By quickly and thoughtfully navigating options, your organization can seize opportunities and address challenges.

Three Questions

Here are three fundamental questions that every leader should pose when faced with a decision-making scenario. I’ve dubbed them the “3Ds” or “Three Decision-Making Questions.” They serve as a framework for evaluating the quality and completeness of the information presented for a decision.

By encouraging your teams to address these questions proactively, you can enhance the decision-making process within your organization. Watch this video, and read the description below for more details on each of the three questions.



Question 1: Have all the assumptions been identified?

Before diving into a decision, it’s crucial to lay bare the assumptions that underpin it. These assumptions serve as the foundation upon which the decision is built. Without a clear understanding of these foundational elements, the process for making a decision can be akin to building a house on shaky ground.

Question 2: Have the assumptions been verified or validated?

Verification and validation are the cornerstones of sound decision-making. Merely identifying assumptions is not enough; they must be rigorously tested and validated. Team members often overlook this critical step, leading to decisions based on unverified assumptions rather than solid facts.

Question 3: What’s the risk of making the decision now?

Timing is everything. Leaders must weigh the risk of delaying a decision against the potential consequences of rushing into one prematurely. By assessing the time sensitivity of a decision, you can determine whether you have the luxury of gathering additional information or if immediate action is required.

Above all, as leaders, it is incumbent upon us to equip ourselves and our teams with the tools and frameworks necessary to navigate the complexities of decision-making effectively. By incorporating these three key questions into your arsenal, you can foster a culture of informed decision-making. This will lead to greater employee engagement and satisfaction, ultimately driving overall success.

Elevate Your Team’s Decision-Making Skills

I delve more into decision-making in my Map Versus the Terrain Keynote. Whether it’s through engaging keynotes, interactive workshops, or personalized executive coaching, I’m here to help you and your team develop the skills to thrive in the age of disruption.

Contact me to learn more about my offerings.