Making Difficult Decisions: How to be decisive and get the business done

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John Wiley & Sons, Feb 4, 2010 - Business & Economics - 224 pages
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You are faced with so many difficult decisions. Often your decision making seems random. It can be swayed by different situations and emotions. You need to be more rigorous in the way you make decisions and yet you have very little time to do so. Experience from others who have made tough decisions and a framework to help you do so would be invaluable.

The courage to make decisions is sometimes a bit elusive. It is difficult to find the calmness to be able to make and live with those decisions. There is so much that can be learned from the experience of others. After working through this book you will have the courage of your convictions and the ability to make difficult decisions count.

The book sets out a framework for making difficult decisions that has been tried and tested. It has been used successfully in one-to-one coaching with senior leaders in both the public, private and voluntary sectors. The framework is built on the following strands: Clarity; Conviction; Courage; and Communication.

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Principles of decisionmaking
How to use this book
Your reflections on decisionmaking
The stark reality
Living with reality
Balancing clarity and conviction where information is partial
The balance between clarity and conviction
Next steps
Effective engagement at the heart of good decisionmaking
The importance of standing back
Following your instinct
Building trust in others
Next steps
The right questions
Questions or assertions
What happens when you ask a good question?

The issue
The analysis
The way forward
Next steps
The key elements
Testing the significance of convictions
Next steps
Ensuring progress
Next steps
Building understanding
Building agreement
Taking action
Next steps
A rugby referee
A Chief Constable
A High Court Judge
A UK Ambassador
A chief executive
Observing others effectively
Handling a forthcoming demanding decision
Next steps
What are we embedding?
Recognising that embedding the ability to make difficult decisions is not linear
Creating structures which help embed the ability to make difficult decisions
Techniques to embed the ability to make difficult decisions
Next steps
Next steps
Introducing better decisionmaking into your senior team
Changing the values of your organisation
Taking a decision when your senior team have differing views
Moving a senior member out of your team
Being compelled to readdress an issue
Next steps
Enabling your boss to face up to a decision they are ducking
Influencing your boss to make a decision in support of your favoured approach
Holding firm when your boss is demanding an immediate decision
Rebuilding a relationship after a difference of view on a decision
Next steps
Persuading a peer that the decision they are moving towards is wrong
Building support from colleagues for a decision you want to make
Building a relationship with peers which provides the framework for effective future decisionmaking
Building a wider network which will enable decisions to be made more effectively in the future
Next steps
Handling a situation where you are indecisive
Facing a decision you do not like taking
Recovering from a wrong decision
Holding firm when courage fails you
Next steps
Guarding against difficult decisions sapping energy
Work and personal priorities are at odds with each other
Work and personal values are at odds with each other
Balancing long and shortterm priorities
Next steps

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About the author (2010)

Peter Shaw is a founding Partner of the leading coaching firm praesta Partners and is an experienced business coach working with senior leaders in the public, private and voluntary sectors. Peter's clients enjoy frank, challenging conversations leading to fresh thinking and new insights. He is often coaching at the interface of the public and private sectors, and working with Chief Executives and Board members taking on new roles and leading major organisational change. Peter is frequently working with individuals who are making difficult decisions enabling them to look at decisions from a range of different perspectives.
Prior to becoming a coach Peter held three Director general posts and worked in five different Government Departments, treasury, Education, Employment, Environment and Transport. he has written a sequence of influential leadership books including, The 4 Vs of Leadership: Vision, Values, Value-added and Vitality, Finding your Future: The Second Time Around and Conversations Matters: How to Engage Effectively With One Another.
He co-authored with Robin Linnecar, Business Coaching: Achieving Practical Results Through effective Engagement and has written a range of influential articles. Peter was formerly a Visiting Professor at Durham University. he regularly leads workshops on leadership issues based around the themes of his books.

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