Getting to a decision can be hard work. This is especially true for strategic decisions. They are the consequence of an in-depth analysis of the situation, of sense-making, and of a process of refining that decision until it can be reached.
It will be a tedious process during which the uncertainty of the situation will lead to many invitations to just get it done with. It will also be accompanied by many ups and downs, involving confusion and insights. All of which uncomfortable and suggesting leap decisions.
The difference between both is the leader’s ability to explain the decision. Whenever the explanation is vague, entirely avoided, or halfhearted, there is a big chance that the ego wants something unsaid. These are moments in which the unconscious self is stepping in and trying to protect the person.
That’s not a big deal, it just says that some of the reasons the decision is taken have not been seen or disclosed. Getting to the core of that information is challenging. It means to be honest with oneself. People tell themselves a story about what they do and how they do it. That story is an answer to an uncertain situation or a commitment that is dreaded. That’s how the story serves as a protection. Being used to that story it has become hard to decode. People know and don’t know at the same time.
Digging into one’s decision is there to become objective about the facts and the emotions involved in the decision. Forging an explanation supports that work. But it does more than that.
To implement and commit to a given decision, teams need an explanation. It helps them to feel involved and it eases their ability to do their work in the spirit of that decision.
Without such an explanation, the team will fill the gap with their ideas and how they understand the essence of that decision. In doing so, they’ll question the parts of the decisions that are clear because it isn’t clear to them. They’ll also tend to assume certainty where there is none.