You Are Paid To Make Decisions

Things are different today. The pace of change – combined with the speed of marketplace demands wrapped in a sea of information – requires more and faster decisions at ever-lower organization levels. It’s the only way businesses can compete, and it’s the only way your employer can survive.

Making decisions is part of your job. Like it or not, decisions are part of every job, at every level, in every organization. This is truer today than yesterday and will be truer tomorrow than today.

In fact, making decisions vs. executing the task is a primary responsibility, regardless of your role, title, or tenure.

  • Need some information to make that decision? Go get it.
  • Need to discuss the possible results first? Pick up the phone.
  • Need to consult with the team first? Call them together.

If you would rather defer, stall, stay quiet, or let someone else decide, you’re putting yourself at risk. Making no decision is a decision – with commensurate consequences.

Organizations are investing time, money, and energy each day to equip people with what’s needed to make decisions. Understand that you are paid to make decisions. Use your intellect, your experience, your good judgment, your intuition. Don’t procrastinate or duck responsibility.  Decide . . . it’s what you are paid for.

What You Can Do:

  • Let go of thinking it’s not your responsibility.
  • Seek information – talk to the customer, do the research, find the facts.
  • Trust yourself.
  • Make the decision.


Karl, I like your ideas about the rate of change demanding faster decisions (and at lower levels in an organization). I think you provide an interesting perspective. I’ve done a lot of research on decision making, and to me it’s intriguing to see how different leaders are pre-disposed to different speeds in their decisions. Some are clearly comfortable with quick decisions, and some are not. Risk aversion may play some factor, but even more than this, different styles have different speeds at which they are comfortable. For further thoughts on the “speed” of decisoin making, I highly recommend Partnoy’s (2013) book, “Wait.” Partnoy argues that perhaps we should wait longer when it comes to taking the time necessary to delay many decisions:
“Given the fast pace of modern life, most of us tend to react too quickly. We don’t, or can’t, take enough time to think about the increasingly complex timing challenges we face. Technology surrounds us, speeding us up. We feel its crush every day, both at work and at home. Yet the best time managers are comfortable pausing for as long as necessary before they act, even in the face of the most pressing decisions. Some seem to slow down time. For good decision-makers, time is more flexible than a metronome or atomic clock” (loc. 111).

Jay McNaught on May 14, 2013 Reply

Thanks for the comment Jay! I like it. Thanks also for the recommendation, I have ordered the book. I agree with your thoughts. In fact I often say you have to slow down to speed up. Faster (even in decision making) is not a one size fits all solution. In some instances though, you need to speed up certain decisions to create the time and space needed to slow down and take the proper amount of time to make other (more impactful?) decisions. At some point I will post a book review of “Wait”

Karl Schoemer on May 16, 2013

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