7 Useful Checks for Decision Making

Leaders make decisions. Good leaders delegate decisions down to the lowest level capable of making the decision. In doing this, the hard decisions that only the leader can make end up on their desk.

check-mark-hiMajor General Perry M. Smith, USAF Retired, lists 7 important checks to apply when preparing to make a final decision. How many of these do you use?

1. The sanity check. If a decision doesn’t make sense, it is the leader’s obligation to reject it and give further guidance to the staff on how to proceed.

2. The dignity check. Will the decision enhance the reputation and dignity of the organization and leadership, or will it undermine that reputation.

3. The systems check. Is there an internal consistency and coherency of all parts of the decision? Does the decision fit within the overall goals of the organization? Individual parts of the decision may make sense but do all parts fit together? Are there any unintended consequences for parts of the organization not directly affected by the decision (at least on the surface)?

4. The CNN check. How would the decision appear when written up in the media?

5. The safety check. This should take in the physical and psychological safety of employees and customers alike.

6. The strategy check. How much will the decision help or hurt the future of the organization?

7. The integrity check. This is the basic ethics issue. This concerns both the means and the ends of the decision, as well as the long-term reputation of the organization.

One of the ways leaders accomplish their goals is by making decisions. Effective leaders make quality decisions. A decision-making approach using these 7 checks will lead to better quality decisions. Try them out on your next big decision.

Coach, Trainer, Speaker

I am a John Maxwell Certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker. I am passionate about Leadership and helping leaders reach their full potential by becoming all they can be.

I am a 30-year Army veteran with vast experience as a logistician. I have commanded small to large units and served on staffs all over the world.

I worked for six years in the defense industry supporting Army organizations.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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