Decisive Point

A conceptual point, with respect to time, distance, and resources, where the leader's decision determines the ultimate success or failure of a venture. It is a narrow window where opportunities can be exploited. Unfortunately, significant risk is always present and it takes great leaders to be able to know when and where to act, and to do so with confidence and determination.

A decisive point differs from a decision point in the degree of importance of the decision. A decision point is a conceptual point, with respect to time, distance, and resources, where the leader can make the best decision on an issue or problem. Leaders routinely identify and act on numerous decision points during the scope of normal business. Examples of decision points are: When/where should we open our next store? When should we acquire new equipment?

Decisive points differ from decision points in order of magnitude. In the two examples of decision points given in the previous paragraph, either decision point would constitute a decisive point if the result of the decision would have a major effect on the organization or its operations.

Leaders can often empower their subordinates to act, without further input from the leader, at decision points by providing effective guidance in the form of decision criteria. Decisive Points, on the other hand, require the full attention of the leader.

All leaders are challenged to identify and act effectively at decisive points. The sheer number of decisions that we face on a routine basis often creates the effect of "not being able to see the forest for the trees." Decision-making is both an art and a science. Science can be acquired through study. Art requires constant practice and reflection.

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