Executives have a long list of expectations, all linked to taking a top management perspective. To understand where these expectations come from, let’s play a game: Imagine that you are a very senior executive at a large railway company.
Most executives expect you to think like an executive — considering the BIG PICTURE — even if you do not yet have the job title or the full visibility into the broader business. Pragmatically speaking, it means that when you make recommendations and decisions, you proactively anticipate and consider bigger-picture questions.
While there is no one “right” decision-making process, many processes can lead to the “wrong” outcome. I have distilled for you the practitioner’s view on 40 years of thinking on the characteristics of an effective strategic decision-making process into an “IDEAL framework.” The IDEAL process is I = Insights-driven, D = Deliberate, E = Explicit, A = Adaptive / Agile, and L = Leads to action.
Strategic decision-making is a never-ending business activity that requires a tailored approach and that can be improved in most organizations. Thus, executives treat strategic decision-making skills as corporate superpowers that unlock access to senior leaders, interesting projects, and promotions. Examples include systematic yet flexible problem solving, clarity of thought and expression, conviction to pursue your decisions, collaboration and buy-in creation, and thinking like a senior executive.