Leadership Matters: The power of decisiveness

Four practices to help you navigate between comfortable inaction and shooting from the hip

Teddy Roosevelt once said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.”

It’s a great quote for leaders to keep in their back pockets. Most of us who have led for any amount of time intuitively grasp the power of decisiveness that Roosevelt is describing. What’s interesting is that we now have empirical evidence to back it up.

The CEO Genome project is a 10-year study examining the traits of high-performing CEOs. From a massive data set, the study’s authors single out deciding with speed and conviction as the first of four key CEO attributes. “In our data,” they write, “people who were described as ‘decisive’ were 12 times more likely to be high-performing CEOs.”

That impressive correlation suggests that more of us should try to enhance our decisiveness. Yet this is easier said than done.


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