Wayne over at the Cranky Middle Manager show has Luda Kopeikina on this week’s podcast. Luda wrote The Right Decision Every Time: How to Reach Perfect Clarity On Tough Decisions. A great book about how to make better decisions.
I interviewed Luda for the Boss’s Day E-Book project I did with 1800CEOREAD. Luda is a super sharp lady and I would recommend checking out the podcast. Here’s the content from the essay I wrote about Luda and her book:
The Clarity State
A good decision can save a company and a poor one can cause it to sink. Everyday, managers and leaders make decisions and each one changes the company in at least a small way. Some of us agonize over decisions, whereas others make them quickly with ease. I have met managers with excellent judgment and have known some with a few loose screws. Training courses suggest we use cumbersome decision trees and root cause analysis. While these methods are useful, they do not address the mental game of decision-making.
Luda Kopeikina is fascinated by the dynamics of decisions. Why are some leaders able to make better decisions than others? What makes decisions easy or difficult? The results of her research and insights are detailed in, The Right Decision Every Time: How to Reach Perfect Clarity on Tough Decisions. To research for this book, she spoke to over 100 CEOs from companies of various sizes and industries. When I spoke with Luda, I was struck by her wisdom, wit, and warmth. She has been a sought after leader, expert, and consultant for many years, including stints as a VP at GE under Welch and a CEO; her extensive experience shows through in her suggestions.
I found Luda´s comments about the differences between mature leaders (in terms of both years and experiences) and those with less seasoning very fascinating. She found that mature leaders have more mental control than junior leaders. She measured physical focus by hooking the CEOs she interviewed to a computer program. The mature leaders were focused and calm even when they had major meetings or urgent issues to resolve later in the day. Luda also found successful and mature leaders to be very reflective. They evaluate their decisions and learned from them. They believed that learning from the past is the best way to pursue mastery.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of Luda´s research was how she chose to define a correct decision. A correct decision occurs when the decision maker is totally congruent with the decision. Luda chose not to measure whether a decision is correct by the outcome because we can´t control the consequences, we can only control how well we look at the problem or opportunity. She found that mature leaders, those who made more successful decisions, wholeheartedly agreed with her definition. Less experienced leaders tended to define decisions by their outcomes. I thought about how I measure the success of my decisions and can see that my perspective has changed as I have developed. Luda is correct; what is most important is how well we approach, analyze, and evaluate decisions. We will never know all the information, so it is critical that we make the best use of the collective intelligence that surrounds us. In the end, we need to feel good about our decisions.