A smart 5-step guide to solid decision-making

p 1 a smart 5 step guide to solid decision making

Earlier than I used to be a CEO, I made choices sooner. Now that I’ve the ultimate name on many crucial choices that can have an effect on my total firm and its future, I spend far more of my time pondering them and excited about their downstream results. 

I’m typically requested about my decision-making course of—the backstory behind what goes into each alternative, massive and small, that I make at Okta. Right here’s a glance into my tried and true five-step course of that helps me delegate, suppose by means of, and reevaluate a very powerful ones.

Establish which choices to move off

My position as a CEO comes down to 5 or 6 crucial choices I’ve to get proper annually and the way I function round them. However tons of of different smaller choices arrive on my desk every day which have to be thought by means of, which suggests I would like to delegate effectively to different workforce members. 

I like to classify choices into two distinct tracks: fast selections and larger, strategic ones. Jeff Bezos talks about categorizing choices primarily based on what’s “irreversible.” That’s powerful to do; how will you predict irreversibility? I’d place it extra as longer-term implications; you may reverse virtually each determination, it simply may take some time. Realizing which have longer-term implications may help you categorize them, decide who ought to personal them, and resolve how a lot time and analysis you want to put in your self.

Search perspective

I collect many opinions, and never at all times from the identical individuals—who I am going to is determined by the choice. I’ve typically discovered individuals shrink back from disagreeing with the CEO, so I actively search out opinions and opposing views. The one approach I’ll get them is that if I’m considerate in how I ask. I by no means need to lead the witness, so I attempt to keep balanced in how I pose the questions to welcome completely different views. 

Once we started the ScaleFT acquisition deal, I didn’t initially perceive how beneficial the corporate and its merchandise could possibly be for our enterprise. I requested for perspective from my workforce, presenting the questions in an unbiased approach. A few teammates identified how we may combine to provide automated server entry, and that’s when the deal shifted from attention-grabbing to must-have. Server entry wasn’t the unique cause we had been fascinated by ScaleFT, however bringing in different viewpoints helped me see issues otherwise. 

Play satan’s advocate

You also needs to play satan’s advocate with your self—it’s tough, however attainable: you will have to be good at holding opposing views in your head. Assume logically, begin inner arguments, and weigh execs and cons earlier than making the leap. I additionally ask myself how I feel individuals will obtain the end result, and I query the choice extra if I feel most individuals will agree with it.

Once we determined to carry on a brand new Chief Safety Officer final yr, we struggled to discover the appropriate candidate. I considered altering the position and having the CSO report decrease within the group, however after I stepped again and questioned that intuition, I noticed it was the straightforward approach out. We determined to stick out the search a bit longer, and we ended up discovering the proper candidate — however it wouldn’t have occurred if I hadn’t performed satan’s advocate and pushed myself to proceed the hunt. 

Take alternate situations under consideration

Earlier than I make any determination, I like to scenario-plan and suppose by means of potential penalties to perceive what could lead on to a improper determination. This helps me weigh all potential outcomes and often provides me extra confidence in my remaining name. 


This technique got here into play a few years in the past when discussing hiring methods. Our head of office proposed a hybrid work mannequin referred to as Dynamic Work that might enable individuals to work wherever they need, and I assumed it was too drastic at first. However as I realized extra in regards to the execution and regarded the danger of the options—an lack of ability to rent due to location-based restrictions and fierce hiring competitors in main tech hubs—I knew it was the appropriate name and would allow us to discover the most effective expertise. Collaborate together with your workforce to perceive the professionals and cons of each determination, and your best option to your firm will turn into clear.  

Be goal 

Lastly, as soon as making a decision, keep goal in evaluating the end result. Return to your unique objectives and anticipated outcomes. Did you obtain them, and did stakeholders react as you anticipated? Then, be trustworthy about whether or not your determination triggered the end result or if market tailwinds had been simply in your aspect.

And don’t count on to get it proper at first. Studying the trail to solid decision-making takes follow, and it requires endurance in carving out the time wanted—particularly if you’re new to the position and used to making quick choices with little enter from others. I’m 12 years in main Okta and nonetheless discovering new issues in regards to the course of each day, however this framework has allowed me to efficiently make among the extra crucial choices on the firm to date.